U.S. Navy sue Hawaii’s military fuel tank drainage order

Honolulu (AP) —Wednesday U.S. Navy lawyer appeals to Hawaii’s order to drain a huge tank of fuel on the hills above Pearl Harbor, and the state poses an imminent threat to the tank and responds urgently. He said he mistakenly concluded that was necessary.

A complaint filed in the US District Court in Honolulu requires the judge to suspend the order.

The motion stated that the Navy wanted to resolve the differences with Hawaii through negotiations, but filed a complaint anyway due to time limits under Hawaii law.

Navy lawyers have filed a similar motion in state court in case a federal judge decides not to act on the basis of the complaint, the filings said.

Last month, Hawaii ordered the Navy to drain tanks at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility after fuel leaked from a complex into a drinking well and contaminated tap water at homes and offices in Pearl Harbor.

Thousands of people are being treated for physical illness, and 4,000 military families are staying in hotels due to water leaks.

The State Department said it was looking forward to a “battle in court.”

“This complaint proves that we cannot deny that the Navy does not want to do the right thing to protect the people of Hawaii and their military personnel,” said Kathleen, Deputy Director of Environmental Health, Hawaii. Ho said in a statement.

Hawaii Governor David Ige issued an emergency order on December 6th. It said the Navy would not be allowed to use the tank again until it was shown to be safe to use.

The Navy has appealed and urged the State Department to hold a hearing to consider the challenge. The ministry’s deputy director then issued a final order on January 3.

The Navy said it would comply with the final order last month, but Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks said it would appeal on Monday. Doing so would give her military time to “make evidence-based and transparent decisions,” she said in her statement.

Wednesday’s complaint said the leak of fuel to the Navy’s drinking water system on November 20 was an emergency. He outlined the steps the Navy has taken to deal with this emergency. This includes providing bottled water, laundry services and alternative housing to affected people.

However, the state claimed that it could not provide evidence that the Red Hill facility itself showed “imminent danger.”

The Ministry of Health provided evidence to the Navy and said it could not provide ample opportunity to discuss whether such imminent dangers existed.

Earth justice lawyer David Henkin said there would be enough time for the Navy to negotiate with the state about the long-term fate of the facility after removing fuel from the tank. This group represents the Sierra Club in Hawaii, which intervened in the proceedings as a stakeholder.

“Now is the time for the Navy to stop fighting emergency orders. The emergency orders aim to remove the threat of existence that the Red Hill facility poses to the people of Oahu,” Henkin said. “If the Navy does not voluntarily refuel Red Hill tanks, we will actively defend the emergency order in court.”

Henkin also said he would fight to maintain the proceedings in a state court with the authority to interpret Hawaiian law.

Separately, the State Department said it had received a document from the Navy submitted to comply with the emergency order. The document included an independent third-party plan to evaluate Red Hill’s operation for safe refueling of tanks. Third-party engineering companies also investigate design and operational flaws and recommended changes to fix those issues.