Student Engagement in Climate Justice

Shut Down Red Hill in Hawai’i

Jun 3, 2022

clipping of statement from newspaper

During World War II, the U.S. Navy built a fuel storage facility into a hill in the Kapūkakī (Red Hill) area on Oʻahu, near Pearl Harbor, in order to save these fuel reserves from aerial attack. Nearly 80 years later, fifteen of these tanks are still in operation directly above one of O’ahu’s main freshwater aquifers.

Since 2014, more than 55,000 gallons of fuel from these tanks have leaked into the surrounding ground and groundwater. After the most recent leak in November 2021, petroleum was detected in the water at the Red Hill Elementary school and the Pearl Harbor/Hickam military base even after repeated communication from the U.S. Navy insisting the water was safe to drink. In the first days of December, it was confirmed that the Red Hill well was contaminated. About 4,000 military families who relied on this well were displaced for months. Some were sickened and hospitalized.

Rev. Brianna Lloyd, Associate Pastor at Lutheran Church of Honolulu, participated in the Center for Climate Justice and Faith’s Community Organizing for Climate Justice as Love in Action training. For her final project, Shut Down Red Hill, Brianna is building an interfaith movement to advocate for the full closure and removal of the Red Hill Storage Facility. As part of this project, Brianna worked with faith leaders to publish a full-page statement in Hawaii’s biggest newspaper the Star Advertiser calling for the closure of the facilityThis statement was signed by 150 faith leaders from around the islands and served as a launching point for the larger campaign which Brianna is continuing to lead.