Final Red Hill Fuel Depot Environmental Assessment

September 8, 2023 11:38 AM

The following is the August 2023, environmental assessment of defueling the Red Hill Bulk Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act.

From the report


ES.1 Proposed Action

The Proposed Action is the gravity-based defueling of Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility (RHBFSF) underground storage tanks and associated pipelines, and relocation of the flowable fuel by tanker ship.This Environmental Assessment/Overseas Environmental Assessment (EA/OEA) addresses gravity-based defueling of the RHBFSF at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) and relocation of the flowable fuel to other United States Department of Defense (DoD) fuel supply locations in the Pacific region or sale of the fuel to commercial entities utilizing DoD contracting authorities. The Joint Task Force Red Hill (JTF-RH) and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) prepared this EA/OEA pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as amended (42 United States Code [USC] section 4321 et seq.) and its implementing regulations issued by the Council on Environmental Quality (40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] Part 1500 – 1508) and Executive Order (EO) 12114.

ES.2 Purpose and Need for the Proposed Action

The purpose of the proposed gravity-based defueling action is to comply with State of Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) Emergency Orders (DOH, 2021a; DOH 2022a), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2023 Administrative Consent Order (EPA, 2023f), and U.S. Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) Lloyd J. Austin III’s order on March 7, 2022 to defuel and permanently close the RHBFSF (DoD, 2022A). Defueling RHBFSF is needed to protect local water supplies from further contamination. Additionally, the DoD needs to defuel the facility as a first step in the process of full closure and remediation of RHBFSF.

ES.3 Alternatives Considered

The JTF-RH and DLA developed alternatives for safe defueling and relocating the fuel for analysis based upon the following reasonable alternative screening factors:

  1. Defueling must occur in a safe and expeditious manner in accordance with: DOH Emergency Order of 6 December 2021; SECDEF Memo of 7 March 2022, DOH Superseding Emergency Order of 6 May 2022; DoD Defueling Plan of 1 June 2022; DoD Defueling Plan Supplements 1A and 1B of 7 and 28 September 2022; and DoD Defueling Plan Supplement 2 of 16 May 2023.
    Defueling operation must not unduly burden the Oahu commercial fuel supply chain.
  1. Transfer of fuel from RHBFSF to the fuel loading pier must occur through DoD‐owned, existing infrastructure.
  1. Fueling transfer from RHBFSF must not utilize public roadways to minimize traffic impacts and reduce risk of accidents and spills.
  1. Fuel tanker loading must occur at an operational pier that can accommodate a tanker ship, and has existing infrastructure to accommodate F-76, JP-5, or F-24 fuel types.
  1. If fuel is relocated for DoD use, it must be directed to locations within the DoD fuel supply chain with infrastructure to safely offload and store fuel in the type and quantity needed by the DoD at the time of defueling.
  2. Relocation and/or commercial sale of fuel must be both economical and a responsible use of the taxpayer’s resources. JTF-RH and DLA are considering two action alternatives that meet the purpose and need of the Proposed Action and a No Action Alternative. Both the No Action Alternative and the two action alternatives utilize existing infrastructure at RHBFSF and JBPHH to remove the fuel from RHBFSF and load it onto tanker ships. The No Action Alternative and the two action alternatives would include removal of flowable fuel from the associated pipelines (i.e., unpacking). Removal of residual amounts of fuel products that do not flow under the force of gravity, such as sludge (unrecoverable tank bottoms) and any fuel within low points of the facility and pipelines, would occur after the gravity-based defueling stage, and is not included in the scope of environmental analysis of this EA/OEA. RHBFSF will transition to DoD’s closure phase after the gravity-based defueling stage.

Alternative 1, the No Action Alternative, is the distribution of flowable fuel from RHBFSF to JBPHH customers at regular demand rates for routine use. This alternative would ultimately remove all flowable fuel from RHBFSF because it would not receive any re-supply of fuel. Under the No Action Alternative, flowable fuel would remain in the tanks at RHBFSF for approximately ten to fourteen months after DOH approval of the gravity-based defueling operation.

Alternative 2 is the relocation of the approximately 106 million gallons of flowable fuel from RHBFSF to existing locations within the DoD fuel supply chain by ocean transit. The fuel removal operation involves gravity flow of the fuel from RHBFSF through existing DoD piping and associated infrastructure to a fuel loading pier at JBPHH. A maximum of eleven refined product tanker ship transits are required to receive and transport the flowable fuel from RHBFSF. After exiting Pearl Harbor, tanker ship transits one through ten would transit within existing commercial shipping lanes to one or more (up to nine) existing DoD fuel support points throughout the Pacific. The fuel deliveries to these locations would occur in lieu of routine or

planned fuel supply deliveries. Potential receiving locations (Figure ES-1) for the ten fuel deliveries include:

  • Campbell Industrial Park, West Oahu, Hawaii
  • Point Loma, California
  • Selby, California
  • Vancouver, Washington
  • Manchester, Washington
  • Sasebo, Japan
  • Subic Bay, Philippines
  • Port of Singapore
  • Darwin, Australia

The quantity of fuel and number of deliveries to each location depends on DoD fuel inventory needs at the time of defueling. For planning and analysis purposes, the EA/OEA evaluates an upper bound, or maximum number, of transits for each receiving location (see Section 2.3.2 in the EA/OEA).

Alternative 3 is the commercial sale of a portion of the approximately 106 million gallons of flowable fuel from RHBFSF combined with the relocation of the remaining portion of the fuel to existing locations within the DoD fuel supply chain by ocean transit. A maximum of eleven tanker ships would be required to receive and relocate the flowable fuel from RHBFSF.

With Alternative 3, up to ten tanker loads of fuel from RHBFSF may be commercially sold in accordance with Section 2922e of Title 10, United States Code, which authorizes the sale of certain fuel sources. Sale of fuel would need to coincide with defueling schedule. Therefore, the amount of fuel sold would be determined by commercial interest and purchasers’ ability to receive the fuel at the time of gravity-based defueling. The portion of fuel that is not sold would be relocated from RHBFSF to existing locations within the DoD fuel supply chain by ocean transit. Relocation of fuel would be accomplished using the same process as Alternative 2. Potential DoD fuel supply chain receiving locations and maximum number of tanker transits to each location are the same as Alternative 2.

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