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    Joint Task Force - Red Hill Hosts Third Defueling Information Sharing Forum



    Story by Capt. Kitsana Dounglomchan 

    Joint Task Force Red Hill

    Joint Task Force - Red Hill (JTF-Red Hill) coordinated the third meeting of the Defueling Information Sharing Forum (DISF) at the Board of Water Supply headquarters in Honolulu, March 24.

    The meeting agenda consisted of the following:

    · Welcome
    · Opening Remarks & Introduction of New Member
    · Updates: AFFF Investigation, Repair Update/Quality Assurance/Quality Validation, Integrated Master Plan & Schedule, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Overview, JTF Progress Dashboard
    · Present Answers & Update from Last Meeting’s Due Outs/Questions
    · Open Discussion & Dialogue
    · Summarize Key Take-Aways and New Due Outs
    · Next Meeting Date/Time & Location
    · Closing Comments/ Meeting Complete

    Key areas of discussion consisted of the following:

    AFFF Investigation: The November 29th AFFF spill investigation is still pending. Once the investigation and coordination has been finalized and approved for release, the investigation and the video will be released to the public. Although the investigation has not been released, this in no way has impacted the clean-up and environmental remediation efforts being conducted by Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command. The JTF will conduct a conference call with Defueling Information Sharing Forum (DISF) members, discussing the findings two hours before a press conference is conducted. Vice Adm. Wade indicated that notifications will also be made to the Hawaii Congressional Delegation, Governor, Mayor, and other stakeholders.

    Members were informed that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Health (DOH) have access to the video. Vice Adm. Wade reminded members JTF-RH’s authorities expanded following the AFFF release. The expansion of these authorities included the consolidation and production of one integrated schedule for all activities at the facility. Additionally, the JTF increased manpower to control access into the facility and ensure only activities scheduled are occurring daily. Military escorts with technical backgrounds were also added to the JTF to accompany all contractors during the execution of their duties as another control measure. Finally, the JTF created a risk management process to approve the integrated schedule, with high-risk activities approved by Vice Adm. Wade and significant risk activities approved by Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Admiral Aquilino.

    Repairs Update: Vice Adm. Wade briefed that JTF-RH has completed 104 out of 253 repairs. Brig Gen. Link described the rigorous quality assurance/validation process that ends with the Department of Health (DOH) signing off on their completion.

    *** NOTE: The number of repairs completed were as of 24 March, 2023. This number has increased to 129 as of 01 April, 2023.

    Integrated Master Plan/Integrated Master Schedule: Vice Adm. Wade and Brig. Gen. Link briefed the JTF-RH Defueling Integrated Master Plan/Schedule that synchronizes all defueling lines of effort, which include, but are not limited to: defueling repairs, 3rd party quality validation, National Environmental Policy Act environmental assessment, training, rehearsals, spill response, Department of Defense and Regulator (Department of Health and Environmental Protection Agency) decision / approval timelines, and fuel relocation. This Master Plan/Schedule is the tool the JTF and Regulators will use to optimize the schedule and look for opportunities to start and complete defueling earlier than currently scheduled.

    Additionally, several questions were asked about tank tightness testing. One member expressed concerns regarding the practice due to perceived risks if fuel movement would be required. Vice Adm. Wade and Brig. Gen. Link reaffirmed that there is no fuel movement required for tank tightness testing and that the evolution will be planned and executed in coordination with the Department of Health and Environmental Protection Agency.

    A recommendation was made to illustrate some of the more complex defueling milestones, such as “dewatering” and “flowable tank bottoms” to make them easier to understand. Picture says a 1,000 words.

    Members were briefed that the JTF is planning to conduct a Defueling Open House event in May to provide the public with information on the defueling process.

    NEPA: Vice Adm. Wade stated that JTF-RH will develop an Environmental Assessment (EA) in consultation with stakeholders and regulators, and in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA requires federal agencies to assess the potential environmental effects of proposed major federal actions and to include community input in the decision-making process. This action is necessary in order to comply with the 2022 Secretary of Defense order to defuel and close the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility and to make good on the promise of transparency with the public. JTF-RH is responsible for defueling 104 million gallons of fuel currently in storage and planning for its relocation. DISF members suggested that the NEPA process be conducted in the most thorough and inclusive way possible.

    Dashboard: Brig. Gen. Link shared a draft update called “The Dashboard” that the JTF intends to release to the public every two weeks to provide greater transparency. DISF members provided feedback to make it more simple and understandable for the public.

    Cultural Awareness Training: Vice Adm. Wade and Brig. Gen. Okamura discussed that all members of the JTF had completed cultural awareness training based on the DISF’s recommendation at the meeting in January. Maj. Gen. Hashimoto, representing U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, asked the Forum members who else they might recommend for cultural awareness training. DISF members recommended that this training should target all military members and their families in Hawaii. Some also recommended that executive-level training for key senior leaders in DC would also be beneficial. These recommendations will be reviewed by US Indo-Pacific Command.

    Other Topics: A Forum member asked if representatives of the other organizations involved in the Red Hill problem set could attend future DISF meetings to cover questions regarding closure, environmental remediation or health. Most members agreed that it would be helpful moving forward to address all the issues in one setting, though there were concerns about the amount of time that would take given we had already spent close to two hours on defueling updates. Vice Adm. Wade noted the purpose of the DISF is to focus on defueling efforts, but that we would absolutely take any non-defueling related Red Hill questions and work with the applicable DoD stakeholders and get answers back to the Forum. With this, several members asked for details regarding the Nakapuna Companies support to Navy Region Hawaii for public engagement to obtain ideas for non-fuel related beneficial re-use options for the Red Hill facility.

    Members recommended DoD should have a better-integrated communication strategy between all the Red Hill organizations to better inform the public.

    This is the record of the Defueling Information Sharing Forum (DISF) meeting. These statements are the result of many perspectives and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Defense.

    The Secretary of Defense established JTF-Red Hill to ensure the safe and expeditious defueling of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. Importantly, JTF-Red Hill is also committed to consistent engagement with local stakeholders to rebuild trust with the people of Hawaii.

    This is the record of the March 24, 2023 Defueling Information Sharing Forum meeting. These statements are the result of many perspectives and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Defense.

    For more information about JTF-RH, or to provide public comment via our contact form, please visit


    Date Taken: 04.03.2023
    Date Posted: 04.03.2023 20:31
    Story ID: 441897
    Location: HONOLULU , HAWAII, US

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