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Following Questioning From Schatz, Secretary Austin Commits To Support Restoring Area, Cleaning Up Red Hill, Monitoring Health Impacts, Care For Those Impacted

Schatz Called For Detailed Accounting Of Federal Funding Spent To Close, Clean Up Red Hill, Support Impacted Community

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, today questioned Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on the FY25 defense budget request, called on Secretary Austin to commit to investing in long-term support for the land and the people impacted by the Red Hill fuel leak, and provide a full detailed accounting of federal spending.

In questions directed to Secretary Austin, Senator Schatz asked, “The thing that the community is working on and thinking about the most is long-term health impacts and long-term environmental impacts and what of the appropriated money that we provided to the Department is allocated for that. What are you planning to do with the remainder of the money as it relates to making sure that none of that petroleum eventually makes its way back into any of those aquifers and that anyone who’s been harmed by ingesting petroleum product, gets taken care of by the Department?”

Austin responded to Schatz, “Once the defueling was complete, then we stood down the Red Hill Task Force and then stood up a task force that the Navy is now in charge of and is charged with environmental remediation. I've had personal conversations with, both the leader of the task force and most importantly, the Secretary of the Navy, on how important this is. And they are committed to ensuring that that they do the right things to make sure that we get this right going forward. We owe it to the members of the community to ensure that we do, in fact, do this.”

In addition to questions to Secretary Austin, Schatz directed questions to General Charles Brown, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the critical national security needs in the Indo-Pacific.

lloyd austin q&a release pic

Video of Senator Schatz’s full exchange at today’s hearing is available here.