Thousands Walk for Wai to Demand Clean Water
On Saturday, December 10, the Walk for Wai gathered thousands of individuals from around the island of O‘ahu and beyond. Several members from our churches were among those standing for our right to clean water and amplifying the demand to de-fuel the tanks at the Navy's Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility which sits just 100 feet above O‘ahu's main aquifer.
A little over one year ago, fuel from the tanks leaked (not the first time) and contaminated the Navy's water system, affecting nearly 100,000 residents, many of whom are still experiencing severe health impacts today. Over this past year, affected military families, community members, and organizations have ramped up efforts to "Shut Down Red Hill" and seek transparency and accountability from the Navy. Their collective organizing and advocacy convinced the Department of Defense to shut down the facility, but, over a year later, millions of gallons of jet fuel remain in the tanks.
Walkers on Saturday traveled with Hawaiian flags and homemade signs in hand, 3.5 miles from Ke‘ehi Lagoon Beach Park to the perimeter of the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command at Joint Base Pearl Habor-Hickam. Leading the march was Ernie Lau, Manager & Chief Engineer of the Board of Water Supply whose mission is "to provide a safe, dependable, and affordable water supply, now and into the future."
Earlier this year in a statement regarding the Red Hill fuel tanks, the Justice and Witness Missional Team reminds us,
"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."
In an Interfaith Statement of Support for the Permanent Shutdown of Kapūkakī (Red Hill), which was signed by over 150 spiritual leaders, we are reminded that protecting water is a sacred act.
WAYS YOU CAN TAKE ACTION
Contact your congressperson about the latest spill of over 1,000 gallons of toxic fire suppressant at the REd Hill fuel facility the other week.
FOR HAWAIʻI RESIDENTS: https://act.sierraclub.org/actions/Hawaii?actionId=AR0374661
FOR U.S. RESIDENTS (Turtle Island/Continental U.S.): https://act.sierraclub.org/actions/National?actionId=AR0375753
CONSERVE WATER As a result of the Red Hill water contamination crisis, the Board of Water Supply has asked O‘ahu residents, businesses, and government agencies to reduce their water use by 10%. Find conservation tips: https://boardofwatersupply.com/mediakit/social-media-tool-kit
Learn more and receive "Red Hill" updates from Sierra Club Hawaiʻi:
Connect with O‘ahu Water Protectors: