Pohakuloa Military Expansion Opposed Unanimously!

Stop the Bombing!

Military Clean Up NOT Build Up!

Below is a brief report on the Hilo hearing held last night, Jan. 11 on plans for military expansion at Pohakuloa. The plans call for new live-fire ranges and training, and construction activities, at Pohakuloa as well as high altitude helicopter flights and landings on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa in training for Afghanistan/Pakistan high altitude mountainous warfare.

The first hour and a half was taken up with open house science fair displays by military people who knew very little about the history of militarism in Hawaii and couldn’t answer many questions asked. But the public testimony portion on Pohakuloa was powerful.
It started with Kumu Paul Neves and his Ohana/halau doing chants and then Paul led a Pule.  Lots of young Hawaiians testified both in their native tongue and English.  They spoke elequently against the military desecration of the sacred mountains and aina.  Other Hawaiians and people of all ages,  testified as well.  The testimony went for 2 hours.  Not one person spoke in support of the military expansion plans. The PTA new commander and the Army Garrison commander sat stoned face throughout the 2 hours of public testimony

In my testimony, I noted that no further military activity at the Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) should go forward.  On July 2, 2008 the hawaii County Council passed a resolution by a vote of 8-1 calling for a complete halt to all live-fire at PTA and any ativities that create dust until their is a comprehensive independent assessment of the depleted uranium (DU) present at PTA and a clean up of the DU.  The council’s resolution also called for 7 additional actions, none of which have been implemented.

I emphasized that stopping all live-fire, construction, and other activities that create dust is key.  Du particles are particularly hazardous when inhaled.  I also emphasized that the federal government should pay for the comprehensive independent assessment, testing and monitoring for radiation contamination and that federal funds should be sought through Hawaii’s congressional delegation –senators Inouye and Akaka, and representatives Hirono and Hanabusa.  There has been plenty of money over the years for military build up but very little funding for military clean up.  It’s time to change those priorities.