Archive for the ‘Pohakuloa’ Category

Protest at Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) main gate 9:30AM Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

Protest at Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) main gate Wednesday, June 28, 2017

PTA is having a ground breaking ceremony for modernizing ranges and infrastructure beginning at 10AM on Wednesday, June 28, 2017. (See below)  They are doing their modernization/expansion piecemeal to avoid a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on their overall expansion plans.  We are planning a protest at the PTA main gate beginning 9:30AM  till 11AM.  Carpools leaving the Hilo side Komohana/Saddle Rd. intersection at 8:45AM on Wednesday morning.  Please join and help pass the word.  Mahalo.

We call for stopping all live fire at PTA, comprehensive testing and monitoring for Depleted Uranium (DU) Radiation contamination, clean up of the DU, no renewal of the PTA lease by the State of Hawaii which expires in 2029, and a military exist plan and overall clean up and restoration of this sacred area –“The Land of the Night of Long Prayer.” and a return of this crown and government lands to the Hawaiian people.

Jim Albertini
Malu ‘Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action
P.O. Box 489
Kurtistown, Hawaii 96760
Phone 808-966-7622
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Below is a military release  to invited guests.  We, of course, are NOT on the list.  Someone sent this to me to let me know what’s happening.

On behalf of Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Marquez, Commander USAG-Pohakuloa, you’re cordially invited to Pohakuloa Training Area Installation Improvement Ground Breaking:

Date: 28 June 2017, Wednesday

Time: 10:00 a.m.

Location: Pohakuloa Training Area on the island of Hawaii

Narrative along with historic pictures:

Pohakuloa Training Area is under-going a series of phased construction projects to modernize ranges and improve Cantonment infrastructure.  Characterized as an austere training environment for military personnel, and a remote duty station for civilian staff, Pohakuloa Training Area represents the largest single live-fire range facility in the Pacific region.  Originally constructed with the intent that facilities were temporary, Pohakuloa has remained an important training asset for all DoD services for the past 70 years.  Temporary facilities have out-lasted their cost-effective life-spans for maintenance and upkeep.  Today, out-dated and worn systems cannot fully support the requirements of military leaders to ensure combat readiness, nor provide adequate facilities for civilian support personnel.  The Pohakuloa “Facilities Improvement Plan” focuses first on Cantonment basic services of water, power, wastewater, and communications.  As utility systems are upgraded, new structures will replace antiquated Quonset huts, including barracks, dining facilities, laundries, and professional office space for civilian staff.  Down-range initiatives will proceed in parallel with Cantonment upgrades.  The recently completed Infantry Platoon Battle Course is the first of several modern range initiatives that will maximize training effectiveness within the existing boundaries of Pohakuloa.  With a civilian workforce of ~200, and military throughput of ~12,000 annually, the “Facilities Improvement Plan” is necessary to enhance Pohakuloa operational capabilities and administrative services, to maintain the readiness of United States armed forces.

The contact info for questions is:  

USAG-HI Protocol @ 808-656-0615

Write a letter to the Editor on DU at Pohakuloa

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

Here are email addresses for letters to the editor  I just sent the letter below.  Both the Hawaii Tribune Herald and West Hawaii Today carried an article 6/16/17 about the NRC denying our petition for a hearing, but didn’t say anything about the danger of inhaling DU oxide dust particles.  I don’t know about the Honolulu Star-Advertiser if it covered the NRC ruling.

Hilo –Hawaii Tribune Herald

Kona — West Hawaii Today

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Letter to the editor

License to Poison

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) actions of June 13, 2017 denied Big Island residents a hearing about the dangers of inhaling Depleted Uranium (DU) oxide dust particles from military radiation at the 133,000-acre Pohakuloa Training Area.  These particles can be dispersed and carried long distance from PTA by the wind, military high explosives and other activity at PTA that creates dust.  Neither the military, nor the NRC, want to deal with this main hazard of inhalation of DU oxide dust particles.  They only talk about there being no external radiation hazard  which is not really an issue with DU. The NRC and military actions fail to protect troops, residents, and visitors health and safety.  In short, the NRC has issued the military a license to poison us.  The military “mission” and efforts to avoid liability trumps all.  Troops, residents, and visitors are being treated as lab rats for military experiments.  Whatever happened to informed consent.   I encourage everyone to view the short video by Hawaii Doctor Lorrin Pang, MD explaining the health dangers of inhaling DU oxide dust particles and judge for yourself if there are health dangers.  See the video here


Jim Albertini, one of the NRC petitioners and president of 
Malu 'Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action
P.O. Box 489
Kurtistown, Hawaii 96760
Phone 808-966-7622
visit us on the web at
sign up on our website to automatically receive our posts


Press Release on DU at Pohakuloa

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017




Hilo, Hawai’i, June 14, 2017

Four Hawai’i Island residents are expressing disappointment in a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) decision to deny them a hearing on the Army license for depleted uranium (DU) at Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA). The residents raised numerous concerns about Army studies and monitoring plans.

Jim Albertini said, “Citizen radiation monitors on numerous occasions have detected radiation levels three to four times background levels in public areas around PTA….How much DU oxide dust is being dispersed from Pohakuloa is unknown.”

 Cory Harden said “Records point to about 2,000 DU spotting rounds used at PTA, but only a few fragments have been found. Only 1,000 acres of the 51,000-acre PTA impact area were surveyed for DU. Concerns raised by professionals outside the Army and NRC were largely ignored.”

 Ruth Aloua and Hāwane Rios said, “We are Kanaka Maoli that live within five miles of PTA in Waikiʻi Ranch. We have used the citizen radiation monitors at the farm during live-fire trainings and recorded radiation spikes of 62 counts per minute. If we are getting these readings here, what is happening to the rest of the island? In 2008 the Hawaii County Council approved Resolution 639-08 urging for comprehensive independent testing and monitoring to determine the extent of radioactive contamination of Pōhakuloa. The conditions of this resolution still havenʻt been met and the concerns of the community have not been addressed. There is a need for in-depth, long term, independent air monitoring of DU and, tragically, this is being blatantly and strategically ignored.We demand accountability, truth, and action. We are not afraid, we will not be silenced, and we are not defeated. The people deserve answers and Pōhakuloa deserves justice. Aloha ʻĀina! ”

 The four say they will continue to seek resolution for unanswered questions about  DU hazards.

Cory Harden, 808-959-7747,

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

License to Poison!

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Fails to Protect Troops, Residents, and Visitors from Military Radiation on Hawaii Island

      On June 13, 2017, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) denied a hearing request about Depleted Uranium (DU) radiation dangers at the 133,000-acre Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) located in the center of Hawaii island. Concerns raised by Big island petitioners Ruth Aloua, Hawane Rios, Cory Harden and Jim Albertini involved the danger of inhaling Depleted Uranium (DU) oxide dust particles dispersed by winds and high explosives. This applies to the health and safety of troops who train at Pohakuloa, residents and visitors alike. Other concerns included contamination of water, sacred sites, plants and animals. The NRC located in Rockville, Maryland said we who live on Hawaii island have “NO Standing” about military radiation in the center of our Island. Ruth and Hawane are Kanaka Maoli who live and farm only a few miles from Pohakuloa. If they don’t have standing, who does? Petitioner Jim Albertini said it appears that the military “mission” trumps all. We are being treated as lab rats for military experiments. What ever happened to inform consent.”

      Albertini said “I have come to see the so called Nuclear Regulators much like Bank Regulators.  They are insiders and rubber stamps of the industries they are suppose to be regulating.  The fact is, there is little or no regulation. There has been no comprehensive study to determine the full extent of Depleted Uranium contamination and other military toxins on PTA and no comprehensive studies to determine what is coming off the base.  Citizen radiation monitors, on numerous occasions, have detected radiation levels 3-4 times background levels in public areas around PTA. More needs to be done.  I ask fellow citizens to view the short video by Dr. Lorrin Pang, MD explaining the health dangers of inhaling DU oxide dust particles and judge for yourself if there are health dangers.   See

      Nearly 9 years ago, on July 2, 2008, the Hawaii County Council passed resolution 639-08 which called for stopping all live fire at Pohakuloa, comprehensive testing and monitoring, and clean up of the DU present at Pohakuloa.  The military has ignored the Council’s voice.

      The military bombing Pohakuloa known to be contaminated with Depleted Uranium and other military toxins is not defense training. It is criminal reckless endangering. War Crimes! The NRC has placed the military mongoose in charge of the hen house. In short, the military has been issued an NRC license to poison. How much DU oxide dust is being dispersed from Pohakuloa is unknown. Hold your breath. The answer is blowing in the wind.

Stop Bombing Hawaii!

  1. Mourn all victims of violence. 2. Reject war as a solution. 3. Defend civil liberties.
    4. Oppose all discrimination, anti-Islamic, anti-Semitic, anti-Hawaiian, etc.
    5. Seek peace through peaceful means and work for justice in Hawai`i and around the world.

Contact: Malu ‘Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action
P.O. Box 489 Kurtistown, Hawai’i 96760 Phone (808) 966-7622. Email:

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Hilo Peace Vigil leaflet June 16, 2017– 821st week – Friday 3:30-5PM downtown Post Office

NRC letter attached–conclusion:

“We deny the hearing requests and dismiss the petitions of Petitioners Albertini, Harden,

Rios, and Aloua for lack of standing and failure to proffer an admissible contention…

Any Petitioner may appeal this decision to the Commission, pursuant to 10 C.F.R. § 2.311,”

within 25 days of service of this Memorandum and Order.

ISSUE DU 2017 6-13 NRC to petitioners

Army’s Pohakuloa Training Area future in question

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

Future of Hawaii live-fire range hinges on questions over depleted uranium contamination

A Marine with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion 3rd Marine Regiment scans the horizon of Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii, during the Lava Viper exercise, an annual combined arms training drill that includes artillery and air support, Nov. 2, 2016.



Published: June 7, 2017

POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii — The Army’s sprawling Pohakuloa Training Area looks small nestled at the foot of Hawaii Island’s Mauna Kea, the tallest mountain in the world as measured from sea floor to summit.

But the 131,000-acre live fire range is the biggest U.S. defense installation in the Pacific, and about 13,000 soldiers and Marines train for war there each year — using everything from machine guns to howitzer cannons and helicopter-launched missiles.

PTA is a valuable U.S. defense asset in the Pacific — so valuable that a $210 million restoration is underway on its cantonment area, notable for dozens of 1950s-era beige Quonset huts.

In recent years, however, the Army has come under increasing pressure by local activists to make a full accounting of depleted uranium buried in the range, a legacy of a Cold War-era atomic weapons system used there.


With restoration planned to extend the range’s life by many decades, opponents see this as a make-or-break moment and have seized upon the issue of possible radiation contamination as a means to curtail or even end live fire training at PTA.

“We want it shut down; we want the live fire stopped,” said Jim Albertini, founder of Malu ‘Aina, the primary group opposing PTA. “We want the military booted out of there, and we want it cleaned up. We’re angry, and rightfully so.”

Bradshaw Army Airfield at Pohakuloa Training Area on Hawaii Island.

In 2005, the Army discovered components of the Davy Crockett weapons system at Schofield Barracks on Oahu. The system, designed to fire tactical nuclear weapons, was never used in warfare.

A subsequent investigation found that training with the Davy Crockett system also took place at PTA from 1962 to 1968. While no nuclear weapons detonated, spotting rounds containing depleted uranium were fired.

Depleted uranium, or DU, is a byproduct of uranium enrichment, and it is much denser than lead. DU used in U.S. military munitions is 40 percent less radioactive than raw uranium ore found in nature, DOD said.

But it can still be a health threat.

“DU is a potential health hazard if it enters the body, such as through embedded fragments, contaminated wounds and inhalation or ingestion,” the Department of Veterans Affairs said on its website. Exposure to troops comes primarily from those who were on, in or near vehicles hit by friendly fire; in the vicinity of burning vehicles; near fires involving DU munitions; or salvaging damaged vehicles, the VA said.

A health-risk assessment of DU at PTA completed for the Army in 2010 by an environmental consulting firm concluded that “no adverse human health impacts are likely to occur as a result of exposure to [spotter round] uranium present in the soil at PTA.”

But it also noted that the number of DU rounds fired and the exact footprint of the impact area “could not be reliably ascertained.”

Miranda Keith-Roach, an environmental radiation expert with the Stockholm consulting firm Kemakta Konsult AB, reviewed the 2010 assessment at the request of Stars and Stripes. She said the assessment was conducted according to accepted standards and that the assumptions used were “conservative,” meaning worst-case scenarios were used in calculating possible risks of DU radiation exposures.

“The overall results were pretty convincing that it is quite safe,” said Keith-Roach, a visiting scientist in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at Plymouth University, Great Britain.

Albertini maintains that a deeper look at DU contamination at PTA is warranted.

“The immediate thing we want is to stop all live fire and do a complete assessment of the depleted uranium that’s there and a cleanup of that depleted uranium,” he said.

In February, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved an Army plan for monitoring possible DU radiation in a stream where sediment is carried out of the most likely impact zone.

Albertini and three others appealed the decision, triggering a hearing before the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board. On May 1, NRC staff issued a memo recommending that the board deny the hearing because the four individuals did not have standing, meaning they did not adequately show that they were personally at risk from radiation. The board has not yet taken action.

Among Albertini’s objections is that air sampling is not part of the monitoring.

“In my view inhalation of small DU oxide dust particles is the main DU hazard at Pohakuloa,” he wrote in a petition to the NRC.

The Army maintains that, given the small amount of DU believed to be at PTA, even if it had aerosolized it would have long ago dissipated.

Keith-Roach said DU is the greatest threat while still in small fragments — before it has dispersed.

“You’ve got to remember that we take in uranium all the time,” she said. “Uranium is everywhere naturally.”

DU at PTA would be of greatest concern if fragments are still in “pure elemental form,” which contains far more uranium than dispersed “background” uranium in the soil, she said. “Once you spread that out into nature, then it’s hard to determine [the difference] because there’s a high level of background uranium.”

Renewal of a state lease for about 23,000 acres of PTA land also faces a rocky future.

Malu ‘Aina is urging the state not to renew the Army’s 65-year lease in 2029 for land that connects PTA’s two largest tracts.

The current lease is mired in a lawsuit brought by two people claiming the Army has breached the lease obligations by not cleaning up unexploded ordnance at PTA. The plaintiffs have asked that the lease not be renewed if that is not done.

A trial on the case concluded in October 2015, but the judge has not issued a decision.

The Hawaii County Council passed a resolution in 2008 asking the military to cease all live fire training at PTA until DU contamination is found and removed.

The military, however, will not easily give up a key installation that hosts about 259,000 troop training days per year, which would otherwise have to be done on the mainland.

Most of the trainees are from Schofield Barracks and Marine Corps Base Hawaii on Oahu, but some come from as far away as Alaska and Japan.

Troops from allied and partner nations also train there. During last year’s Rim of the Pacific drills, personnel from eight other countries drilled at PTA. Singaporean soldiers with the 25th Infantry Division trained there last summer as part of the Army’s Pacific Pathways initiative.

PTA maintains about 71 miles of gravel roads that snake around an otherworldly landscape of sheer cliffs, jagged ridges, scraggly trees and patches of grass. Wild goats roam the countryside, long used to the rumbling of Humvees and tanks.

The restoration of the cantonment area is planned from the bottom up, said Lt. Col. Christopher M. Marquez, PTA’s garrison commander.

The seven-year plan’s first step, now underway, is to replace an antiquated sewage system — a series of cesspools, now impermissible under environmental regulations — with a $23 million leach field. Underground and overhead utilities, including all gas lines, will then be replaced.

A third phase would raze more than 100 Quonset huts in the cantonment area and rebuild modern barracks. A few huts might be set aside for historic preservation, Marquez said.

PTA’s cantonment area is spare and would remain so, but comfort isn’t a priority for the 30-day training stints at PTA.

“It’s meant to be austere,” Marquez said. “As soon as you leave the cantonment area, you go into the austere environments where you rely upon your own gear for warmth, for protection against the elements, for protection against any chemical or biological threat.”
Twitter: @WyattWOlson