The Navy today filed 43-pages of objections to a recent decision by a hearing officer that the Department of Health’s emergency order relating to its Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility be upheld.
That order requires the Navy to drain its underground fuel tanks, clean up petroleum that had contaminated its Red Hill drinking water shaft and conduct an assessment of the safety of the facility before seeking state permission to resume operations.
The Navy is fighting that order, prompting a contested case last week that involved roughly 13 hours of testimony from witnesses called by the Navy and Department of Health, as well as the Honolulu Board of Water Supply and Hawaii Sierra Club, which were allowed to intervene as parties to the proceedings.
On Monday, DOH hearing officer David Day recommended that the emergency order be upheld, calling the Red Hill fuel facility a “ticking time bomb” that was guaranteed to continue to leak fuel. Day said that the aging facility posed an imminent peril to human health and the environment.
But the Navy objected to many of the findings and conclusions in Day’s proposed order, saying that they lacked evidentiary support and that there was no indication that the hearing officer weighed competing evidence.
The Navy also argued that Day had “expressly refused to consider or weigh evidence” on the Navy’s actions to comply with a corrective action plan for the fuel facility that dates back to 2015.
“Arbitrarily excluding an entire category of evidence pertaining to the Navy’s testing, monitoring, sampling, environmental efforts and knowledge is an error, to which the Navy takes exception,” wrote Craig Jensen an attorney for the Navy.
DOH Deputy Director Marian Tsuji now has 30 days to make a final decision as to whether the emergency order is upheld.
The order was prompted after petroleum contaminated the Navy’s drinking water system that serves approximately 93,00 people in and around Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.