Archive for the ‘Hawaii Independence’ Category

April 16, 2017 article in Hawaii Tribune-Herald on DU at Pohakuloa

Sunday, April 16th, 2017
April 16, 2017 article in Hawaii Tribune-Herald on DU at Pohakuloa
My first take on reading the article is that it is a very pro military article.  Callis had lots of material he could have used to raise questions but did not include it, including our radiation monitor readings of several times background. And there is no mention of the main hazard –inhalation of DU oxide particles –what Dr. Lorrin Pang, MD  said is “the most deadly form of radiation.”
Jim Albertini

Tests find no DU threat: But critics file petitions challenging Pohakuloa Training Area radiation monitoring

Four Hawaii Island residents filed petitions challenging the radiation monitoring plan for Pohakuloa Training Area.

The plan is the result of the U.S. Army’s use of depleted uranium — a dense, weakly radioactive metal alloy — in spotting rounds fired 50 years ago at PTA, Schofield Barracks on Oahu and mainland installations. It requires sampling of an intermittent stream bed downslope of the impact area.

Studies and monitoring efforts done over the past decade haven’t shown a health risk to Hawaii Island residents as a result of depleted uranium use and ongoing training. But petitioners say they want to see more monitoring, including continued air sampling, a citizen advisory panel or cleanup of the impact area at PTA.

“I am deeply concerned by the potential contamination of our air, fresh water resources, and food sources,” Hawane Rios of Waikii Ranch said in her request for a hearing to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. “… As a kanaka maoli and Kia‘i Mauna (mountain guardian), it is my responsibility and birthright to show up, stand up and speak up when my lands and ancestors are calling me to do so.”

The NRC issued the Army a license to possess depleted uranium in 2013 to cover its use of the spotting rounds for the Davy Crockett tripod-mounted gun in the 1960s. The metal was used to give the rounds sufficient weight to simulate the projectile’s trajectory. The monitoring plan is a requirement of the license.

“We’ve done our part in submitting our recommendations to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission,” PTA Commander Lt. Col. Christopher Marquez said in a statement. “The NRC decides whether the Army’s proposal is satisfactory or if something different is required. Our responsibility is to obey the law and comply with the NRC’s decision.”

PTA spokesman Eric Hamilton said high explosives are not used in the radiological control areas where spotting rounds were fired.

NRC spokeswoman Maureen Conley said the petitions filed by the four residents were referred to the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board.

“The ball is now in the panel’s court,” she said in an email. “Typically the process involves putting together a board comprised of administrative judges who will consider whether the petitioners have standing and have put forth admissible contentions.”

According to the Army, 140 kilograms of depleted uranium were confirmed to have been shipped to Hawaii. That would fit in a 10-inch by 10-inch by 20-inch box, according to Marquez.

Those shipments became known after tail assemblies of the rounds were found at Schofield in 2005 and subsequently at PTA, a 133,000-acre training area located off Saddle Road between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.

Since then, studies have been done by multiple agencies and the Waikii Ranch Homeowners Association. None have identified higher than normal radiation levels.

Waikii Ranch is the closest community to the training area.

“The level of DU in the dust sample is so low as to be statistically insignificant,” David Bigelow, Waikii association depleted uranium program manager, wrote to members in 2008. “… From this we conclude that we have not been exposed to DU.”

Depleted uranium is 40 percent less radioactive than uranium, which occurs naturally in the environment.

Jeff Eckerd, state Department of Health radiological branch manager, said the stream bed, which is dry except for periods of rainfall, is a more likely pathway for migration of depleted uranium since the heavy metal would likely only travel a couple hundred yards if aerosolized through use of high explosives in the impact area. Depleted uranium is 60 percent heavier than lead, he said.

Jim Albertini of Kurtistown, who has organized protests of PTA, said the monitoring plan and past surveys have been insufficient or faulty. He said the depleted uranium fragments should be cleaned up.

“How much DU was used we don’t know,” Albertini said in an email.

Hamilton said there is unexploded ordnance in the impact area, so it’s not safe to send people.

It’s not known how many spotting rounds were used at PTA versus Schofield.

A 2011 report commissioned by the Army Corps of Engineers looked at the possibility of depleted uranium becoming aerosolized due to use of high explosives in the training area. It stated that under the worst-case conditions, airborne concentrations at PTA boundaries would be well below health guidelines.

The report also notes 714 spotting rounds were confirmed to have been shipped to Hawaii but, 2,050 would have been needed to meet training requirements during the six-year program. The report said it modeled both scenarios and assumed all the rounds were used at PTA.

The plan doesn’t involve additional air monitoring, a point noted by petitioners.

“The current proposed 1 site sediment sample miles northwest of the impact area, taken every several months, weather permitting, is completely unsatisfactory,” Albertini said in his petition.

Albertini said the whole training area should be surveyed, and PTA, which includes federal and some state land, should be returned to the “Hawaiian people, and the restored nation of Hawaii.”

Past air sampling was done by a consultant for the Army at three locations along Saddle Road and the state health department in Waikoloa Village.

Samples taken near Saddle Road in 2009 and 2010 were well below health guidelines, according to the reports. That included periods where live-fire training occurred.

Air sampling in Waikoloa from February 2009 to May 2009 found normal background levels of natural uranium, according to the Health Department.

Eckerd said he doesn’t think additional air sampling would find anything based on the past samples.

“I haven’t seen anything in any of our surveys that would indicate anything other than naturally occurring radiation,” he said. “… The question becomes: How much is enough?”

Other reports include a consultation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That agency said no adverse effects for the public were expected.

Other petitioners are Cory Harden and Ruth Aloua.

Harden said in her petition that the radiation monitoring plan assumes depleted uranium fragments are only within the radiological control areas, which consist of firing ranges the Army says were used for the spotting rounds.

“It does not take into account fire tornadoes, dust storms, and other high-wind events that may carry dust long distances,” she wrote.

The Health Department continues radiation surveys outside PTA on a periodic basis, even though readings have not found elevated radiation levels, Eckerd said. Those involve use of hand-held detectors, rather than collecting air samples.

“What we’re really looking for in the ambient surveys if there’s any dispersal on the ground,” he said. “If something came off site and is there now.”

“Everything has been within ambient, what we would deem to be normal radiation levels,” Eckerd said.

Since depleted uranium is weakly radioactive, the main health concerns comes from its toxicity, he said. The risk is generally the same for ingesting naturally occurring uranium, also weakly radioactive, Eckerd said.

“It’s more of a chemical hazard (through ingestion) than a radiation hazard,” he said. “Heavy metal poisoning would be more of an issue before you had long-term chronic health effects from the radiation. I would be more concerned with it as a heavy metal toxin or poison.”

Eckerd said he hasn’t seen evidence of depleted uranium migrating offsite from PTA. He said residents shouldn’t be concerned with driving on Saddle Road.

Email Tom Callis at


Jim Albertini

We have lost a great activist –Moanikeala Akaka

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

We have lost a great activist –Moanikeala Akaka

     I just saw a post from Melissa Leina’ala Haa Moniz that Moanikeala Akaka died this morning  Sat. April 15, 2017 at 1:46 AM after a several month battle with cancer. We have lost a great activist and champion for justice, peace and the earth.  My sympathy goes out to her partner Tomas and family.  I last saw Moani only a couple weeks ago.  Her spirit was very strong but physically she was weak.  I had just come from a protest at Pohakuloa.  Moani was glad to hear about it and that the movement to protect both Mauna Kea and Pohakuloa continued to gain strength.  I was honored to be arrested with Moani and others on April 2, 2015 Protecting Mauna Kea.   We road the same paddy wagon to the Hilo jail after blocking TMT construction equipment from proceeding up the Mauna to desecrate the Sacred temple.  I first met Moani in 1970-71 in the Kalama Valley land struggle on Oahu.  Her vision and spirit for justice was a gift we all need to carry on.  Solidarity forever Moani.  You will be with us always.  Mahalo nui loa.

Jim Albertini

Protect Pohakuloa Strategy Meeting

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

Aloha kakou,

Reminder:  There will be a Protect Pohakuloa strategy meeting on Monday, April 10, 2017 from 6-8PM at the Kea’au Community center located behind the Keaau Police station and Health Clinic.

All are welcomed who are concerned about the military bombing at Pohakuloa.  Please pass the word to friends and come join in the discussions.  Can you believe that Pohakuloa, where over 14 million live-rounds are fired annually at a base that is contaminated with Depleted Uranium, is planning an “Earth Day Celebration.”  Please, please.  Stop the Bombing!  Talk about hypocrisy and Earth Day fraud!



PS  Below is a Pohakuloa fact sheet.
— Jim Albertini Malu ‘Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action P.O. Box 489 Kurtistown, Hawaii 96760 Phone 808-966-7622 email visit us on the web at sign up on our website to automatically receive our posts

Military Pohakuloa Training Area Fact Sheet

  1. The Military Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA), located in the center of Hawaii Island is the largest military training area outside the continental United States. PTA encompasses 133,000-acres, and is nearly 5 times the size of Kaho’olawe Island, or larger than the islands of Kaho’olawe and Lanai combined.
  2. The land at PTA is Hawaiian Kingdom government and crown lands. It’s been used as a military training area since WWII. Over 84,000-acres were simply seized through presidential executive order #11167 at no cost. Nearly 23,000 acres are leased by the Army from the State of Hawaii for 65 years at a total cost of $1.00.
  3. Po-haku-loa is translated to mean: The Land of the Night of Long Prayer. Pohakuloa is known as the sacred heavenly realm of unity between the three great mountains – Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, and Hualalai. To bomb Pohakuloa is considered desecration and sacrilegious to Hawaii’s native people –the Kanaka Maoli.
  4. Military documents claim that up to 14.8 million live-rounds are fired annually at Pohakuloa by all branches of the U.S. military and other countries. Weapon systems of all sorts are used at PTA, including small arms, artillery, helicopter gun ships, bombing by fighter jets, B-52, B-1 and B-2 bombers, etc.
  5. In 2007, the Army confirmed that it has used Depleted Uranium (DU) radiation weapons at PTA dating back to the 1960s. The number of DU rounds fired is not known but the Army has said it is prohibited from firing DU weapons in training at PTA since 1996.
  6. Comprehensive, independent, testing and monitoring to determine the full extent of radiation contamination at PTA is being opposed by the military.
  7. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) drone aircraft are used in training at PTA. A drone airfield has been constructed less than 1 mile on the Hilo side of Mauna Kea Park between the old and new Saddle Rd.
  8. PTA contains many important cultural and historic sites and has the highest concentration of endangered species of any U.S. Army installation in the world, native and endangered birds such as, Nene, Palila, Amakihi and many others.
  9. PTA has known health hazards – lead, radiation, and other military toxins, and is located in a dry environment adjacent to a Girl Scout Camp where continued bombing and military maneuvers, together with frequent high winds, risk spreading the contamination in small dust particles. Pohakuloa is also subject to flash flooding. Flooding risks the introduction of military toxins into the ground water and toxins being flushed all the way down into the ocean, endangering humans, plants and animals.
  10. On July 2, 2008, the Hawaii County Council, by a vote of 8-1, passed Resolution 639-08 calling for a halt to all live-fire at PTA due to the presence of Depleted Uranium radiation. The Army has ignored the Council’s call.
  11. Overall, Hawaii is the most heavily militarized group of islands in the world. The Bayonet Constitution and the Reciprocity Treaty of 1887 stationed the U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor, lead to the removal of Hawaii’s Queen in 1893, and continued U.S. occupation ever since.

Malu `Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action P.O. Box 489 Kurtistown, Hawai`i 96760. Phone (808) 966-7622 Emai

Statement to Nuclear Regulatory Commission on DU used at Pohakuloa

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

Statement to Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Depleted Uranium used at Pohakuloa


NRC petition by JVA

NRC petition by JVA

Protect Pohakuloa

Sunday, April 2nd, 2017

Protesters Outcry Against Live-Fire Bombing in Hawai’i