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Sen. Hirono, Senate Armed Services Committee chair to tour Red Hill

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono and the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee will tour the Red Hill bulk fuel storage facility Tuesday. The visit comes as the Navy prepares to permanently shut down operations at the site.

Hirono, a member of that committee, will tour the facility with U.S. Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, who chairs the panel.

At a press event in February, Hirono said she wanted her colleagues to get a better sense of the scope of operations at Red Hill, which holds hundreds of millions of gallons of fuel that power the U.S. military presence in the Pacific.

"So I want the chairman of the committee to see what kind of installation Red Hill is – it’s massive, it’s on the order of Hoover Dam. It is a huge installation, and so it’s not going to be an easy thing to defuel safely, so that’s one of the things I’d like him to experience," she said.

Hirono and Reed will also meet with service members at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, many of whom were affected by jet fuel contamination of their drinking water.

Hirono’s office says the weeklong tour is an effort to heighten the urgency among her fellow senators and military leadership to permanently shut Red Hill down.

Last week, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told the committee that the Navy is preparing to shutter the facility, but no timeline for the closure has been set.

Scott Kim was a news editor at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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