Maui mayor visits Haleakala following fuel spill at Space Force site

Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen visited the summit of Haleakala on Thursday where some 700 gallons of diesel fuel spilled at a Space Force facility.
Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 10:58 AM HST|Updated: Feb. 3, 2023 at 4:47 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen says the military is trying to figure out how it will clean up the 7-hundred gallons of fuel that leaked at a Space Force facility on Haleakala last Sunday.

It comes after Bissen on Thursday visited the summit of Haleakala.

That’s where 700 gallons of diesel fuel spilled at a Space Force facility.

Bissen said he told military officials the summit is sacred and they must engage with Native Hawaiian caretakers of that land.

Brig. Gen. Anthony Mastalir, commander of U.S. Space Forces Indo-Pacific, said the Space Force is committed to accountability and repair.

The Space Force facility is described as a “strategically-located national asset” that collects data on near-Earth and deep-space objects.

Officials said the cause of the spill was due to a mechanical issue. A diesel fuel pump for an on-site backup generator failed to shut off Sunday night.

In an interview on Friday with Star-Advertiser’s “Spotlight Hawaii” show”, mayor Richard Bissen said the military has a lot of work to do to restore trust with the public instructed military officials to include local community stewardship groups in the clean up efforts.

“I think we are in a post Red Hill climate and that we understand everyone is on a more heightened alert,” said Bissen.

During his tour atop Haleakala, Bissen said he could smell the fumes from last Sunday’s diesel fuel spill.

“There was an obvious aroma, you know, the odor that was there,” Bissen added.

Bisson said he’s not aware of any video surveillance that captured the spill. Right now the focus is the clean up and he says the military is still working on a plan.

“There are a few options that they’re considering. I think that’s the part they’re still trying to determine.”

Bissen says he wants military officials to include community stewardship groups like Ka’koa Haleakala in the clean up discussions, but the group tells us they have no faith the military will listen to them.

“Of course they should be transparent. Of course they should provide us ways to input so we can decide for ourselves if what they plan to do is enough to protect and clean our Aina but history tells us not,” said Kahele Dukelow with Ka’koa Haleakala.

Space Force Hawaii News Now in a statement that it is “committed to our responsibility to protect and preserve the environment and will continue to maintain an open dialogue with the local communities, regulators, and other stakeholders across Hawaii.”

It plans to hold a press conference Monday to discuss more details.