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Hawaii delegation demands federal probe into Red Hill leaks

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Hawaii’s congressional delegation today called for an independent investigation into the release of toxic fire suppressant chemicals at the Navy’s Red Hill fuel storage facility, writing in a letter to Gene Dodaro, the comptroller general of the Government Accountability Office, that “the recent events in Hawaii demonstrate the need for a thorough audit to ensure that Hawaii’s people, land, water and ocean are all protected.”

On Nov. 29, about 1,300 gallons of concentrated aqueous film-­forming foam (AFFF), which is used to contain fuel fires, leaked from a pipeline at Red Hill. AFFF contains PFAS, so-called “forever chemicals” that are slow to degrade in the environment, alarming regulators and environmentalists.

“The Nov. 29th leak of a fire suppression system at the Red Hill complex that spilled over 1,100 gallons of AFFF into the environment, as well as other previous PFAS contamination events affecting Red Hill and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, have potentially exposed the community surrounding the Red Hill complex to enduring threats to their health,” according to the letter signed by U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono and U.S. Reps. Ed Case and Kai Kahele. “This community and the people of Hawaii deserve answers regarding how the Navy undertook efforts to address these incidents and complete the clean-up and remediation of impacted sites.”

They also cited a Civil Beat report of a previous AFFF leak at Red Hill on Sept. 29, 2020, that the Navy did not disclose publicly.

Gao Letter Re Pfas and Navy by Honolulu Star-Advertiser

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