Commander overseeing Red Hill’s defueling says plan remains ‘on track’

FILE - Overhead lights illuminate a tunnel inside the Red Hill Underground Fuel Storage...
FILE - Overhead lights illuminate a tunnel inside the Red Hill Underground Fuel Storage Facility in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Jan. 26, 2018. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is visiting Hawaii this week amid lingering community frustration and distrust after jet fuel from a military storage facility last year spilled into Pearl Harbor’s drinking water. (U.S. Navy via AP, File)(Shannon Haney | AP)
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 6:24 AM HST|Updated: Mar. 17, 2023 at 8:23 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some of the nation’s top military leaders convened Thursday to discuss major issues, including the Red Hill defueling plan and the Haleakala diesel spill.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with the secretary of the Navy, the secretary of the Air Force, the INDO-PACOM commander and the Joint Task Force Red Hill commander Vice Adm. John Wade.

According to Vice Adm. Wade, the defueling plan remains on track to begin operations in February 2024 and be completed by June 2024.

He said the task force is working closely with the Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Health.

Secretary Austin was also briefed on the diesel spill at the Maui Space Surveillance Complex on the summit of Haleakala.

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In a press release, officials said:

The Department of the Air Force recognizes the cultural significance of the Haleakala summit and is proactively implementing a plan to mitigate the environmental impact of the leak. Secretary Austin reaffirmed his commitment to protect human health and the environment in Hawaii and emphasized that DoD leaders will continue to work closely with the Hawaii Department of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Hawaii state officials to ensure a timely and safe defueling and closure of the Red Hill facility.

The military released only a broad overview of the meeting and no other additional details were provided.

This story may be updated.