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Defueling Red Hill will cost far more than the allocated $100 million, Sen. Mazie Hirono says

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons
(Aug. 23, 2007) - then-Secretary of the Navy the Honorable Dr. Donald C. Winter tours the Navy Red Hill Underground Fuel Storage Facility to get a first-hand look at the condition of the tanks. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shawn P. Eklund

After touring the Red Hill fuel depot Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono said safely defueling the Red Hill storage tanks will cost far more than the $100 million already allocated for that purpose.

Hirono said they originally considered requesting more money for defueling Red Hill in the just-approved supplemental spending bill passed by Congress.

"We had originally, I should say, put in a request for something on the order of $500 million to begin to meet the executive order. A large part of it is safe defueling, so we know it’s going to cost a lot more than $100 million," she said. "But that is a really important commitment and recognition that this defueling needs to be done safely."

Hirono said the funding request was lowered because the Navy has yet to provide a plan for draining the Red Hill tanks.

The Navy is under a state executive order which requires it to remove hundreds of millions of gallons of fuel from the storage facility.

Following her tour of Red Hill, Hirono met with some of the business owners at the food court at the Navy Exchange near Pearl Harbor.

Those outlets have been closed since late November 2021 after jet fuel contaminated the Navy’s water distribution system.

Scott Kim was a news editor at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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