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NEWS | July 1, 2022

U.S. INDOPACOM announces establishment of Joint Task Force Red Hill

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command

CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii – Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, announced the establishment of Joint Task Force Red Hill (JTF Red Hill) on June 30.

The Secretary of Defense directed the standup of JTF Red Hill. Once on-site in Hawaii, the JTF Commander’s sole responsibility will be to ensure the safe and expeditious defueling of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility in close coordination with the State of Hawaii. 

“This is an operational approach to ensure mission accomplishment,” said Aquilino.  “This is so important that the Secretary has decided to take a different approach.  And the commitment from the Department is to defuel the tanks per the direction given, as expeditiously as possible without compromising safety anywhere.”

The Department of Defense (DoD) today released its plan to safely defuel the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility by the end of calendar year 2024.  

The removal and relocation of the fuel will commence once the DoD has deemed that Red Hill is safe to defuel and regulatory partners provide final approval.

The Honorable Meredith Berger, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment, said, "We know that every action we take must be protective of human health, the environment, and national security. For these reasons we have drafted a plan that is transparent, maximizes safety, and acknowledges and minimizes risks.”

The five-phase defueling plan, which may be downloaded here, demonstrates DoD’s commitment to remove more than 100 million gallons of fuel as quickly as possible, in a safe and informed manner, and with full transparency to regulators, intergovernmental partners, and with the people of Hawaii.  The plan incorporates industry best practices and will be continuously refined during the planning and implementation process. 

DoD will coordinate with the Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Hawaii Department of Health to meet the requirements in the Emergency Order expeditiously and will ensure compliance with environmental safeguards, defueling Red Hill in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local regulations.

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