HCUCC Justice and Witness Missional Team releases statement regarding Red Hill fuel tanks
HCUCC Justice and Witness Missional Team Statement Supporting the Draining and Shut Down of the Navyʻs Fuel Storage Tanks at Kapūkakī (Red Hill)
The ongoing contamination of water on Oʻahu caused by leaks from the Navyʻs Kapūkakī (Red Hill) fuel storage tanks and the certain threat of continued and potentially catastrophic contamination of the aquifer that supplies most of the islandʻs drinking water compels us to speak out.
The Justice and Witness Missional Team of the Hawaiʻi Conference of the United Church of Christ, stands in solidarity with the people of O‘ahu who have been affected by the contamination of their water by leaks from the US Navyʻs Kapūkakī (Red Hill) fuel storage tanks and with those whose water is threatened by future leaks. We support the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Healthʻs order that the Kapūkakī (Red Hill) Fuel storage tanks must be drained and operations suspended and we call on our City, State, and national leaders to demand the Navy comply with that order. We further support the permanent shutdown of the tanks which are aging and deteriorating and have been described by the Department of Health hearing officer as “an inevitable ticking time bomb".
As people of faith, we are charged by our God to be stewards of creation. In Genesis 1-2, after proclaiming all that had been created to be good, God then created humans to be responsible for the care of all of Godʻs creation. The Bible tells us repeatedly that all of creation belongs to God. Both Hebrew and Christian texts, declare, "The Earth is the Lordʻs." Contemporary Biblical scholars have brought to our attention that the concept of humans having “dominion”, power over the earth, comes from an unfortunate mistranslation and that the more accurate words are stewardship, or responsibility. Humanity was created to care for creation, to act for Justice, and to love God and one another (Micah 6:8).
Ola I Ka Wai. Water is life. We live on islands, dependent on a limited fresh water supply that, on Oʻahu, is threatened with potentially catastrophic contamination. Repeated leaks from old, corroding tanks built in the 1940ʻs, ongoing seepage into surrounding ground and the recent spill of 14,000 gallons of fuel which contaminated the water supply to 93,000 of our brothers and sisters have demonstrated beyond doubt that our water supply, critical to the health of our men, women, and children is endangered. We have seen thousands of families displaced and wide spread illness caused by petroleum contamination of the water supply to a large area of Oʻahu. The Hawaiʻi State constitution, Article XI Section 7 says the state has an obligation to protect, control, and regulate the use of Hawaiʻi water resources, to be held in trust for the benefit of Hawaiʻi's people now and future generations. The decision to require draining and suspend operations of the Kapūkakī (Red Hill) fuel storage tanks is in keeping with the Stateʻs trust obligation. We advocate for the permanent shut down of the facility.
As stewards of creation, we are called to protect our sacred, fragile ʻāina (land) and wai (water). As doers of justice, we are called to resist this environmental threat to the wellbeing of our brothers and sisters. We call on our churches and our leaders to join in demanding the draining of the Kapūkakī (Red Hill) fuel storage tanks and closure of the Navyʻs operation of the underground tanks.
For additional information about the water contamination and the ongoing threat to Oʻahuʻs water, please refer to the following links:
Calvin Say: Red Hill Crisis Requires Hawaii To Unite And Act Now
OHA Calls for Shut Down of the Navy’s Red Hill Fuel Tanks
How The Red Hill Fuel System Has Threatened Oahu’s Drinking Water For Decades
Navy says it will defuel Red Hill tanks, but won’t rule out future legal battles
Navy will comply with state order to remove fuel from Red Hill https://www.hawaiipublicradio.org/local-news/2022-01-11/navy-will-comply-with-hawaii-order-to-defuel-red-hill-facility
Navy Agrees To Comply With Hawaii’s Order To Drain Red Hill Fuel Facility https://www.civilbeat.org/2022/01/navy-agrees-to-comply-with-hawaiis-order-to-drain-red-hill-fuel-facility/
Protect Oʻahu’s Drinking Water