Email testimony opposing County take over of Mauna Kea Park

Testimony emailed to
Testimony OPPOSED
to MOA to let the County take over operations at Mauna Kea State Park.
FRI 3/28 9 am hearing on Oahu BLNR

Aloha BLNR members:

Our organization is opposed to the County take over of operations at Mauna Kea State Park.

     Our organization has detected radiation at the park on several occasions since May 29, 2007, three months before the military officially admitted, after repeated denials, that DU spotting rounds were fired on Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) ranges less than 1 mile south of Mauna Kea park.  The readings we detected were several times the background radiation.  We suspect that far more DU was used at PTA than what the military wants us to believe.  The Davy Crockett rounds were used beginning in the early 1960s.  Army Col. Howard Killian testified to the Hawaii County Council that DU was not prohibited in training until 1996.  What does that tell you?  It says to me that if it wasn’t prohibited in training, it was likely used in training.  But don’t look and you won’t find.  That’s why the military has stonewalled citizen calls for comprehensive testing and monitoring to determine the full extent of DU contamination at the 133,000-acre PTA, and if, and how far it has spread.    Less than 1% of PTA has been surveyed for DU, and that with questionable methodology.  Schofield Barracks, and other likely contaminated sites in Hawaii including Makua Valley and possibly Kaho’olawe also need independent thorough testing for DU.    Even the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has said the Army filter size in sampling DU at PTA was too large and therefore the Army sampling was worthless.

      Our organization is aware of three MDs and a Naturopathic doctor in Hilo who have patients that tested high for uranium in 24 hour heavy metal urine tests.  There appears to be a need for further testing and research to determine the cause of such uranium in urine and if it is related to PTA. In March of 2013 our organization requested PTA to offer 24 hour urine tests to some of its long term workers to see if uranium was showing up in their urine but the PTA commander, Lt. Col. Eric Shwedo, declined our request. So much for his good faith to the community.


      It should also be noted that 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 DU radiation  The resolution also called for clean up of the DU along with several other action points, including monitoring to assure the confidence of the community.  The Army has ignored the Council’s call despite Army regulation 700-48 which says the Army must follow such requests by local governments.  The Hawaii County Council, Mayor Kenoi, DLNR chair, William Aila, and the State BLNR need to follow up with further action to Resolution 639-08 in pressuring the Army for accountability on DU.


     Back in the 1960s around the same time the military started using DU at PTA, the Army got a BLNR lease of crown and government lands in the Waiakea Forest reserve to do what the Army said was “weather testing.”  The Army was lying.  The Army tested chemical and biological weapons, some as deadly as 1/50 of a drop in Hilo’s water shed.  Many people said cancel the lease. And the state did.  Today many of us are saying the same thing over DU radiation testing.  Cancel the BLNR lease of nearly 24,000 acres at PTA being leased to the military for the grand sum of $1 for 65 years.  Over 84,000 additional acres of crown and government lands were seized at Pohakuloa under a Presidential executive order in 1964.  Not even 1 cent rent has been paid for that.  The military is making a multi billion dollar mess at PTA and it needs to be stopped.  I say to you BLNR –Cancel the military lease at PTA.  Do thorough testing at Mauna kea Park abd other State lands in the area.  Meanwhile put a moratorium on any action concerning Mauna Kea park transfer to the county until this issue is resolved.


      Regardless of who is liable – federal, state, and/or county governments, there are potentially serious health and safety concerns for residents and visitors at Mauna Kea Park with the increased use of Saddle Road, frequent strong winds and occasional flash flooding in the area, and military bombing of a base known to be contaminated with DU and other military toxins. When will public officials take responsible action to address these concerns? For now the answer is “Blowing in the Wind.”

Jim Albertini