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Navy stands up information sharing group to discuss Red Hill defueling

DoD Simulates Spill Recovery at Red Hill
Shannon Haney/Commander Navy Region Hawaiʻi
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaiʻi (Sept. 22, 2022) - Red Hill control room operators monitor fuel levels and communicate over handheld radios during a spill response exercise on Sept. 22, 2022. (U.S. Navy photo by Shannon R. Haney)

The Navy’s Joint Task Force Red Hill has named several elected officials and community members to a Defueling Information Sharing Forum group.

Members will receive updates from the Department of Defense on the defueling of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. They will also be tasked with sharing this information with constituents and community members.

The Joint Task Force - Red Hill Public Affairs said that the Defueling Information Sharing Forum will meet in private.

"As part of our agreement with our DISF members, the DISF meetings and content discussed will not be open to the media or the public," a spokesperson said. "The DISF is meant to be a constructive forum in which information and sincere feedback is shared between participants. The DISF members are encouraged to share the information they receive at the forum with their peers, constituents and interested members of their communities.”

The new committee features representatives from the Honolulu Board of Water Supply, the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, the state Legislature and other local offices.

Joint Task Force Red Hill Commander Rear Admiral John Wade said the forum brings together technical and cultural expertise.

"I'm absolutely humbled, honored and grateful to the forum members for their willingness to provide community and military family feedback, share their diverse insights and recommendations, and help communicate what we are doing and why," Wade said in a press release. "Each of the forum members are engaged on the Red Hill issue, have deep awareness of community and military family concerns, technical/functional or cultural expertise, and the ability to speak to linkages."

The group will meet for the first time this Friday, in a closed session.

In a release, OHA Chair Carmen "Hulu" Lindsey called the group a "welcome step toward transparency."

"The Navy clearly needs to improve its credibility with the people of this state and it is our hope that establishing this sharing forum with community leaders will assist toward that goal," Lindsey said. "The defueling of the Red Hill Bulk Storage Facility is of such vital importance that it will take all of our voices working together to ensure a pono resolution of this crucial issue. We must all continue to engage the Navy with every step of this process to ensure that Oʻahu’s clean water resources are preserved for generations to come."

The members participating in the forum are:
- Councilmember Radiant Cordero, Honolulu City Council (District 7)
- Dr. Kāʻeo Duarte, Chair of Hawaiʻi Fresh Water Council
- Dr. Sylvia Hussey: Chief Executive Officer of Office of Hawaiian Affairs
- Rep. Linda Ichiyama: State Representative (District 32)
- Fleet Master Chief David Isom, USN: Senior Enlisted Leader U.S.
Indo-Pacific Command
- Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole: State Senator (District 24)
- Ernie Lau: Manager and Chief Engineer of Board of Water Supply
- Kūhiō Lewis: Chief Executive Officer of the Council for Native
Hawaiian Advancement
- Jeff Mikulina: Co-host of KHON Empowered-Hawaiʻi; former CEO of Blue
Planet Foundation and former Chapter President of Sierra Club
- Laurie Moore: Executive Director of Armed Services YMCA Honolulu
- Dr. Vassilis Syrmos: Vice President for Research and Innovation at
University of Hawaiʻi
- Rep. Ryan Yamane: State Representative (District 37)

Sabrina Bodon was Hawaiʻi Public Radio's government reporter.
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