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Sierra Club files motion to intervene in state proceedings for Red Hill emergency order

US Navy Region Hawaii

The Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi wants to intervene in proceedings for the state’s Dec. 6 emergency order against the Navy following the discovery of jet fuel in a well at Red Hill.

The order requires the Navy to stop operations at the Red Hill fuel storage facility, install a water filtration system, and assess how to safely remove the fuel from the tanks — which is located above an aquifer.

It also tells the Navy to find somewhere else to store the fuel until it can take measures to fix the problem. The Navy said it will challenge the order.

The Sierra Club filed the motion through Earthjustice, an environmental law firm. The group cited its ongoing participation in other litigation concerning Red Hill.

Earthjustice attorney David Henkin says the move puts pressure on the health department to ensure the Navy abides by conditions of the order.

Among the latest developments in the Navy water crisis, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said he is monitoring the Navy's handling of jet fuel contamination in its Pearl Harbor drinking water system.

In a statement Monday, Austin said he is “personally monitoring” the situation at the fuel storage facility.

“Nothing is more important to me or to this Department than the health, safety and well-being of our people and their families, as well as that of residents living near our installations,” Austin said.

Austin said Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks will visit Red Hill this week. She will meet with Navy officials, state leaders and families affected by the fuel-tainted water.

“My expectation is that military leaders in Hawaii will continue to do everything they can — as fast as they can — to return residents safely back to their homes and to communicate clearly and frequently the steps they are taking to do so,” Austin said.

About 3,000 people have been removed from affected military housing. The Navy's water system serves military families, several schools and some commercial properties.

Read the Sierra Club's motion to intervene below or click here to open a new tab.

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