Some testimonies submitted on Pohakuloa $210 Million Building Plan

Ms. Lisa Graham, NEPA Program Manager                               VIA E-MAIL

947 Wright Street

Wheeler Army Airfield

Schofield Barracks, HI  96857-5013

I include commentary on the EA for the Cantonment Facilities Improvement Program at Pohakuloa Training Area, dated July 2018.  Thank you for the opportunity to be able to address issues in the EA.

The environmental assessment failed to address some critical issues related to the upgrading of PTA cantonment area.  It is so short on detail that I would call it “EA lite.”  There are numerous occasions where a statement is given along the lines of “construction best management practices” will be followed.  Frankly, that is not sufficient as it tends to overlook and then fails to address critical issues of significant impact.

I recognize the EA is identified as a draft but even at this stage it could benefit from a thorough review.  For example, without detailed search, I noted that the reference Mullineaux, 1987 is listed in the text but not in the references.  There appears to be a conundrum from a mantra that alternative scenarios cannot be considered because of financial constraints, e.g., moving the cantonment area.  That seems to be incongruous when it is noted that the military annually contributes $12.2 billion or 18 percent to Hawaii’s GDP of $64 billion.  This entire project over 8 years is only $220 million.

The commentary restriction of 200 words to discuss issues of the EA at PTA is highly limiting and can easily lend itself to having the issue rejected pro forma because of an excuse that it is not sufficiently explanatory to include it as part of a review.  I hope this will not be the case for the comments you receive.  Specifically, it is necessary to leave out references but I would hope the review group has enough savvy and familiarity with the EA to be able to recognize the reason for the comments and to place them with the associated text sections with which they should be familiar.

I have six issues to bring to your attention. I limited my commentary of each one to 200 words or less after the identifying header, to meet the criteria for comment.  I used Microsoft Word and spaced them so they may be printed as separate pages. 

I have made a sincere attempt to help improve the EA as a comprehensive document but conclude that an EIS will be the proper approach for this project.  Let me state that if you need more information, including locations in the EA of my concerns, contact me.  In fact, I would hope you would consider this cover letter as a separate comment of concern and include it as part of the EA review process.


Michael Reimer, Ph.D.



Commentary by Michael Reimer on the July 2018 EA for the Cantonment Facilities Improvement Program at Pohakuloa Training Area

1)  Safety of workers from exposure to toxins during demolition and construction creating significant impact. 

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has granted a possession license to the US Army for the residual depleted uranium toxin that was used for training activities in the 1960s.  A US Army contractor report on seeking the location of the DU residuals stated that some of the larger DU pieces were removed from the explosive impact ranges and placed in secure storage at PTA.  This location must be identified, NRC approval given, a future secured storage area identified, with mandated precautions taken and stated.  It is a critical issue of significant impact and requires a full discussion that can only be provided by an Environmental Impact Statement.

In addition, it is imperative that the construction workers be advised of the presence of depleted uranium at PTA and be protected from inhalation of aerosols created by construction and military training activities.  Increased health risks are very much higher for inhaled alpha-particle emitting particulates than for whole body exposure.

Depleted uranium may not be the only toxic material present that could expose construction workers, soldiers, contractors, visitors, and staff during construction.  A recent court ruling seeking cleanup of contaminated PTA lands acknowledged the migration of toxins from the impact areas.

Comments on FONSI Pohakuloa Environmental Assessment (EA) 8-7-2018

  1. Flawed study, omissions and impacts need for PEER REVIEW
  2. Limited scope of EA segmented and does not address cumulative impacts
  3. EIS for entire Pohakuloa expanding military activities and impacts
  4. FONSI or less than significant impact is inaccurate and deceiving, PTA area development plan and the draft real property master plan devalues and forever destroys Hawaii’s natural resources, socioeconomic damage and Endangered species critical habitat
  5. Construction sites, Historic archeology above or sub levels review Not considered in 1950s ground disturbances to update and upgrade for expansion. ALL Past and current resource destruction needs to be valued in dollars to assess levels lost of history to current value to be compensated.
  6. Major unresolved issue is the USA occupation of Hawaii with military troops constantly demonstrating and threatening a peaceful nation and peoples with military might.
  7. Lands consideration are based on STATE LEASE or fee to military and illegally acquired by purchased land sales made under duress.
  8. State of Hawaii historic preservation officer, US fish and wildlife, Hawaii dept of health, coastal zone management program Hawaii support have been bullied and deceived as the total impact and cumulative impacts contribution of this action. Total negative impacts to the area and people of Hawaii remain irreparable
  9. Areas of impacts – land use compatibility in conflict with Kingdom of Hawaii laws, forever lost of cultural resources, increased noise provided by housing large numbers of troops and related activities. Pollution contribution by related activities this EA supports to air, water and soil. Socioeconomic damage contribution to PTSD of Native Hawaiians, endangered species and critical habitats. Continued contribution of toxic and hazardous substances by activities these facilities will support.
  10. My preferred action in total removal of ALL Pohakuloa facilities, clean up ALL UXO, decontaminate all DU, toxic and hazardous elements related to ALL military activities. Compensation for lost use of lands occupied, compensation to restore all environmental damage, compensation for all damaged and destroyed archeological sites, relics and Hawaiian objects. Termination of any/ALL lease holdings. Return of all lands and facilities claimed in lease or fee to the Kingdom of Hawaii
  11. FULL EIS for the ENTIRE PTA facility and activities to determine current baseline damage and lost attributed by ALL impacts of any future military activities. NO SEGMENTING
  12. EA and EIS to provide funding to community for PEER reviews conducted by agreed upon experts not affiliated or connected to military influences.


James ‘Sparky’ Rodrigues


Aloha Lisa Graham,
I am submitting official comments on the Environmental Assesement (EA) for the Pohakuloa Traininig Area (PTA) Facillities Improvement Program (FIP) Draft Finding of no significant Impact.
I disagree with the EA’s finding of No Significant impact in regards to section 4, Cumulative Impacts.  This Facilities improvement program would extend the lifespan and impacts of all activities at Pohakuloa and would facilitate all activities at Pohakuloa.  Therefore the scope of section 4.2 and 4.3 needs to be expanded to include all actions, past present and future at PTA.  All cumulative impacts of activities, live fire training, hazardous waste and UXO accumulation need to be considered as these facility upgrades will perpetuate these impacts on the environment.  Without the FIP PTA would eventually not be able to accommodate the current large scale training  activities like RIMPAC, and the environmental impacts of these activities would diminish.  A full Federal EIS under NEPA is required to address the cumulative impacts that the proposed FIP would facilitate and extend into the foreseeable future.
Furthermore, the PTA lease of over 30,000 acres of State of Hawaii ceded lands expires in 2028.  These lands are central to the function of PTA.  The current EA would have a large implication on the extension of this lease and needs to be considered in a full Federal EIS under NEPA in conjunction with the cumulative impacts that a new lease or lease extension of State ceded lands would possibly create.
Furthermore the “Federal” lands identified in the EA for the PTA FIP were originally seized in from ceded Kingdom of Hawaii Lands in 1941 under martial law.  To date there has been no fair compensation for these seized lands.  By investing in infrastructure improvements, the military will extend this unlawful seizure into the foreseeable future.  The full impact of this action on the Health and well being of the people of Hawaii and the Environment needs to be considered, properly addressed and rectified.
In conclusion, I wholly oppose the Finding of No Significant Impact for the Pohakuloa Training Area Facility Improvement Program because it fails to consider the true scope of cumulative impacts associated with this action.  This action is fundamental to the longevity of PTA and therefore must be considered in the cumulative context of all actions and impacts of the military at Pohakuloa.
Me ke aloha aina,
Joseph Kualii Lindsey Camara

August 7, 2018

Attn: Lisa Graham US Army EA Public Works Environmental Division
947 Wright Avenue, Wheeler Army Airfield, Schofield Barracks, HI 96857-5013.

Ohana Ho`opakele, a native Hawaiian organization, feels that the Environmental Assessment (EA) is wholly inadequate for the following reasons:
*      There is no mention of the dangers of Depleted Uranium (DU) oxide at all. It has been documented by Dr. Lorrin Pang M.D. of the danger of Depleted Uranium oxide and this has been made known to the authorities at the Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) through letters, email, flyers and even on signs held in front of the PTA gate, yet this document does not even acknowledge this in this report. A discussion on the dangers of DU oxide should be included either under “Air quality” or “Toxic and Hazardous Substances.”
*      Although the study does mention a University of Hawaii (UH) Humuula Saddle Hydrologic Study Project in 2012 it does not mention the contaminants found in the water from the test well sites. The EA acknowledges that the area is known to flood. Thus, this EA must show that the water table will NOT be further contaminated due to the building of this project.
*      Julie Tomia acknowledged that most of the PTA has not been surveyed. Until the total area is surveyed, the study CANNOT claim “it is reasonable to conclude that the unsurveyed areas do not contain historic properties” as stated on p. 3-7, especially when a lava tube shelter is acknowledged to be in this 80 acre area for the project.
*      There has no study been done on the psychological impacts to native Hawaiians caused by destruction of their cultural, traditional and sacred sites. Although the EA mentions that a total of 32,330 personnel in 2009 participated in activities on the PTA, the EA does not mention how many are native Hawaiians. How many native Hawaiians will be involved in working on the sites, constructing the project, how many native Hawaiian personnel work on the PTA regularly and how many native Hawaiian military will participate in activities on the PTA over the eight-year period of this project.
*      Although the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) is mentioned under “Cumulative Impacts” there is no mention of the impact of the native Hawaiians who have opposed the TMT on Mauna Kea and whether this will have an impact of this project at the PTA. We challenge the simple statement included in this study that says, “The Mauna Kea summit is considered a sacred place by many native Hawaiians.” Many native Hawaiians consider the whole Mauna Kea “sacred”, not just the summit. Puu Pohakuloa is on Mauna Kea. Puu Pohakuloa is in the Ahupuaa of Kaohe, in the district of Hamakua. This whole Ahupuaa was considered property of Kaahumanu before it became “Government Lands” under the Mahele. What is the cumulative impact of using this land to native Hawaiians. At the least, there should be a discussion of this under “Cumulative Impacts” like there was for the TMT.
*      Why did no native Hawaiian NGOs respond to this draft EA? There were many native Hawaiians who joined in two demonstrations against RIMPAC at the front gate of the PTA on June 30, 2018 and August 1, 2018. The new Commanding Officer of the PTA came out to talk with the demonstrators and even introduced his native Hawaiian spouse to the demonstrators. Why were these native Hawaiians NOT invited to respond to this draft EA?

For these reasons, Ohana Ho`opakele requests that a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) be required of this project.

Mahalo for allowing us to comment on this draft EA and FONSI!

Ronald Fujiyoshi, Treasurer
Ohana Ho`opakele


Attn: Lisa Graham

The entire draft EA process is moot, since the United States government has no legal status on Hawaiian lands or waters. Under international law, Hawai’i has been under U.S. occupation since the 1893 illegal overthrow (the Apology Bill under the Clinton Administration already admitted to this issue.). In addition, the U.S. has consistently refused to present its claim of a legal transfer of sovereignty by then Hawaiian Kingdom to the U.S. government in the International Court of Justice. Therefore, it cannot unilaterally decide on any land use issues because it has no legal jurisdiction. Accordingly, Hawai’i residents are not bound to follow the arbitrary rules and proceedings of the occupying army. Hence, it is time to renounce the illegal occupation, and the only legally binding option is to, A) clean up the toxic wastes left by the occupying army, B) pay the negotiated reparations, and then C) pack up and leave these islands.

Peace, Aloha and Imua!

Danny H.C. Li (Kea’au, Hawai’i)


As the current President of the Landscape Industry Council of Hawaii (LICH)
and a Board member of the Hawaii Island Landscape Association (HILA), and as
well a 35 year resident of the Hawaiian islands (17 years on Hawai'i island)
I request and call for a Full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to be
performed for the proposed $210 million building project at PTA. 


It is my belief that PTA is a toxic waste dump after 75 years of bombing and
live-fire, with a toxic stew of chemicals used, including Depleted Uranium
(DU) radiation.  Given this reality it should be assumed there may likely be
extensive contamination in the proposed demolition and construction area.
After all, while PTA has a designated "Impact Area" it's maps of PTA say

In simple terms, whatever was used anywhere on the base should be considered
in the proposed construction area. Nothing in the current EA addresses the
wide range of military toxins, including radioactive Depleted Uranium oxide
particles (DU oxide) which have been used in the 75 years of bombing and
other live-fire at PTA. There needs to be comprehensive, independent testing
and monitoring for DU oxide and other military toxins at these PTA buildings
which are adjacent to the newly improved Saddle Rd, and for all areas that
are contaminated and hazardous.


I will go much farther.  It is likely off the base as well,  at Mauna Kea
State Park in the children's playground, at the nearby Girl Scout Camp, into
and on all the vehicles that daily use the Daniel K. Inouye (Saddle Road)
highway and downwind --north, south, east and west, depending on the wind
conditions of the day. Every time live fire testing takes place at PTA the
United States Army puts our community at risk, in harm's way of DU exposure,
of whichever way the wind is blowing. We have confirmed this during live
fire periods with our own radiation monitoring equipment that has detected
radiation spikes well above background radiation levels both at the PTA main
entry gate and outside PTA on many occasions, including Mauna Kea Park,
where many who travel the improved Saddle Road stop for picnics, use the
restrooms and the children's play area. DU has a half-life of 4.5 billion
years. Once inhaled DU oxide particles stay in the body for decades. High
Explosives turns DU metal into DU oxide dust particles that can be carried
long distances by the wind and when inhaled is the most deadly form of
radiation (causing cancers and genetic damage) according to Dr. Lorrin Pang,
MD, MPH who spent 24 years in the Army Medical Corps. The time has come for
the United States military to acknowledge its error and its responsibility
for DU in our Hawai'i island environment and take immediate measures to
mitigate possible risk to our Hawai'i island community.


The statement on page vii of the executive summary which says "Employment of
personnel qualified to identify and handle hazardous materials if
unexpectedly encountered" shows the disconnect from reality of the approach
to this demolition and construction project.  It is NOT "unexpectedly
encountered." It is expectedly encountered.  And I request and call for a
more comprehensive look at the matter be made through a full EIS. 


'Freedom is not free', is a justification we often hear from our military,
and yes, a strong military is important and soldiers must be trained. But in
the case of PTA the time has come for the United States Army to acknowledge
it's errors and negligence and accept its responsibility in the risk it
creates for the citizens of Hawai'i island. The time is long overdue for the
United States Army to take steps to remedy this dangerous situation
immediately, for our children and our future generations.


For my own Grandson I will not accept anything less.


I would appreciate your response by email.


Mahalo, Ku kia'i Pohakuloa,


Christopher McCullough


LICH President and HILA Board Member

Horticulture Manager

DFI Resources LLC

Attn: Lisa Graham
US Army EA Public Works Environmental Division
Comments on Pohakuloa Environmental Assessment
Let the record reflect that the Hawaiian Patriotic League is in FULL SUPPORT of all points submitted to you on this matter by Mr. Jim Albertini, Malu Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action.
After well over a century, the United States of America continues to ignore the fact that the Hawaiian Islands were never annexed by the United States of America. 
The Hawaiian Kingdom remains an independent neutral state under the belligerent military occupation of the United States of America.
Under the norms of international laws of occupation, the laws of the occupied state shall be enforced by the occupier, therefore, United States law has no lawful effect in our country.
There is no question that United States has no lawful right or need to continue their prolonged military occupation of our country. 
United States military training in Hawaii, with its associated contaminations of Hawaii’s land, sea, and airspace with military toxins, are intentionally inflicted harms constituting premeditated war crimes. 
Let this communication serves as notice that the Hawaiian Patriotic League opposes the continued belligerent occupation and desecration of our country by the United States of America. 
e call for the immediate halt to the prolonged belligerent occupation and intentional violations of our human rights by the United States government.
Isaac Paka Harp, Vice-President
Hawaiian Patriotic League

comments on

Environmental Assessment (EA) and Draft Finding Of No Significant Impact

Cantonment Facilities Improvement Program at Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA), Hawai’i Island, Hawai’i

July 2018

from Cory Harden, Hilo

comments due August 7, 2018–send to


When touting the benefits of the project, the EA focuses on worldwide impacts. It says the cantonment and other PTA facilities are crucially important, and refers to how these facilities will support military actions statewide and worldwide for years to come.

But for negative impacts, the focus narrows to construction only. The EA turns a blind eye to the significant, long-term environmental impacts of military actions, statewide, nationwide, and worldwide, that will be enabled by cantonment improvement.

The EA should describe and evaluate negative impacts from past, present, and future actions at PTA, such as erosion, fires, impacts to native species and native Hawaiian culture, increased human trafficking, higher housing costs, and lost opportunities to use land for agriculture, recreation, housing, and commercial activity.

It is disturbing that no areas quality as traditional cultural properties (TCPs) despite human burials, old trails, over 1,200 archaeological sites, people having “deep cultural attachment to the broad spectrum of natural and cultural resources”, and conclusions by the respected researcher just quoted, Kepa Maly, re. TCPs. It is also disturbing that probably many significant sites in the PTA impact area have been, and will be, destroyed with no mitigation.

The EA should describe and evaluate impacts from numerous former military sites on Hawai’i Island with unexploded ordnance and other hazards. Why is there always money for new projects, but not for cleanup?

The airfield points directly at the cantonment, so planes must take off and land heading away from the cantonment, with tailwinds that increase risk. Improving the cantonment instead of relocating it perpetuates this risk.

With a capacity of 2,300 troops, and a relatively shallow aquifer vulnerable to contamination, the cantonment requires full-scale wastewater treatment, not just septic tanks.

Measures should be proposed to reduce risks from construction trucks, some carrying hazardous materials, on Saddle Road.


1 Purpose of and Need for the Proposed Action

1.2 Background and Project Location

As the largest training area in Hawaii, PTA plays a significant role in the training and readiness of U.S. Armed Forces in the Pacific. It offers the largest livefire operations training area on U.S. soil in the Pacific, and offers realistic training opportunities not found elsewhere. This capability is critical to maintaining a ready force with global reach. EA p. 1-1

1.3 1 Purpose of and Need for the Proposed Action

The mission of PTA is to provide a quality joint/combined arms facility that provides logistics, public works, airfield support, and environmental and cultural stewardship in support of the U.S. Army Pacific

Command (USARPAC) training strategy, while maintaining an enduring partnership with

Hawaii Island neighbors….the substandard condition of the physical facilities impairs mission readiness, by taking focus and resources away from the training mission. It has also negatively impacted training equipment, and jeopardizes the health and safety of Soldiers. EA p. 1-9

The EA also says

The deteriorating condition of the cantonment buildings would likely result in the temporary and/or permanent loss of some facility functions and increasing use of trailers and portable structures that would intrude into existing open spaces and thereby reduce operational flexibility.” EA p. 2-18


The proposed investment reflects the Army’s long term commitment to PTA as a national training asset, and makes it less likely that the Army will reduce its presence at, and commitment to PTA.” EA p. 4-11

and the EA lists 20 years of planned projects here

Table 4-1, Past, Present, and Reasonably Foreseeable Future Actions, EA p. 4-3

When touting the benefits of the project, the EA expands the focus to worldwide impacts. It says the cantonment and other PTA facilities are crucially important, and refers to how these facilities will support military actions statewide and worldwide for years to come.

But for negative impacts, the EA turns a blind eye to the significant, long-term environmental impacts of military actions, statewide, nationwide, and worldwide,that will be enabled by cantonment improvement. The focus narrows to immediate construction impacts: “Based on a review of the foreseeable projects, the proposed action will have less than significant cumulative effects on the relevant resource areas…” EA p. 4-11

The Army can’t have it both ways. A full EIS is required to evaluate the cascading impacts of upgrading PTA facilities.

2 Description of the Proposed Action and Alternatives

2.1 Proposed Action

The implementation of the PTA FIP [Facilities Improvement Plan] is estimated to cost $210 million and to occur over an eight-year period (FY16-FY23), subject to funding availability. p. 2-1

Why is there always money for new projects, but not to clean up hazardous former military sites? When I ask military representatives, they complain that Congress fails to allocate the funds. But how many resources does the military commit to lobbying for cleanup funds, versus lobbying for expansion funds?

2.3 Alternatives Carried Forward for Analysis

2.3.2 Facilities Improvement Program (Preferred Alternative) Utility Improvements (Not Part of Proposed Action)


The project area is served by an aging sewer system that is in the process of being replaced by individual wastewater systems (IWSs). The FIP includes seven septic tanks and seven absorption beds…New sewer lines and manholes will be installed within the existing roadways. New sewer laterals will be connected to each building where wastewater is generated. p. 2-8

Much of PTA is lava rock. Is there enough soil for septic systems? How much ground will be disturbed by digging for a sewer system?

Is the project designed to accommodate water from a well in the future? If so, the cumulative impacts of development, at Pohakuloa and nearby, from any well need to be evaluated in greater depth than this EA provides.

I also concur with these comments by Mike Reimer:

“… the cantonment facility is capable of housing 2,300 troops.  This is equivalent to a village and merits full-scale waste-water treatment.  The aquifer identified by UH studies is relatively shallow and will be subject to receiving leachates of the septic and other drainage-management systems through the porous basalts and possibly toxins carried by the surface drainage control system.  Thus, this overlooked issue of significant impact must be addressed properly with the requirement of a full waste-water treatment facility and discussed in a full EIS.” E-mail from Mike Reimer to Cory Harden, July 27, 2018

Electrical Lines The existing secondary power system for the cantonment area consists of overhead poles and wires and pole mounted transformers with a few pad-mounted transformers. The proposed changes will essentially convert it to an underground system…p. 2-11

Much of PTA is lava rock. How difficult will it be, and how much ground will be disturbed, by digging for underground electric?

2.4 Alternatives Considered But Not Carried Forward for Detailed Analysis

2.4.1 Relocate Out of BAAF Accident Potential Zone

One alternative considered was to relocate cantonment activities to the north and south of the area encumbered by the Bradshaw Army Airfield (BAAF) Accident Potential Zone (APZ) and Imaginary Surfaces (but still within project area). The 40:1 Approach Departure surface and 7:1 Transitional surface associated with aircraft operations at BAAF cross through the center of the project area (Figures 1-3 and 2-1) leaving areas to the north and south available for new construction. The project area is also located in Accident Potential Zone (APZ) I (areas at either end of a runway where an aircraft mishap is most likely to occur if one 1 occurs). Most of the buildings and terrain features within the project area penetrate into the imaginary surfaces plane. The cantonment and airfield were constructed prior to adoption of current airfield land use regulations. The land use incompatibility described above is effectively managed by

restricting aircraft operations on the east end of the airfield (i.e., restricting approaches and departures over the project area). The limited size and terrain restrictions of the project area make it very difficult to undertake major new phased construction outside of the APZ without significantly affecting Mission Readiness (Screening Factor 3) and the use of SRM [Sustainment, Restoration and Modernization] funds (not available for new construction) (Screening Factor 1). Moreover, the proposed action (modernization of cantonment facilities and infrastructure) is consistent with a permanent waiver granted by the U.S. Army Aeronautical Services Agency dated October 12, 2017, so land use incompatibility is no longer a factor. pp. 2-16 to 2-17

See comments re. 3.1.1.

3 Affected 1 Environment and Environmental Consequences

3.1 Land Use Compatibility

3.1.1 Affected Environment

To manage potential aircraft accident risks, take offs and landings over the project area are prohibited; all take offs and landings are toward the west, away from the developed area of the cantonment. The proposed action is consistent with a permanent waiver granted by the US Army Aeronautical Services Agency. p. 3-2

The EA fails to clearly describe the danger. This could be remedied by including a map like the one at this website:

Upgrading the cantonment at the existing site will have the impact, far into the future, of perpetuating problematic flying conditions. It appears pilots will be taking off and landing with tailwinds in the afternoons, on top of coping with the effects of high altitude. See below:

the prevailing direction of strong winds come from the southeast…”

Environmental Assessment, Construction of an Urban Close Air Support Range and an Aviation Bulls-Eye Range at Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii, December 2013, p. 10, accessed 8-4-18

A normal takeoff is one in which the airplane is headed into the wind; there are times that a takeoff with a tail wind is necessary. However, the pilot must consult the POH/AFM [Pilot’s Operating Handbook and/or Airplane Flight Manual] to ensure the aircraft is approved for a takeoff with a tail wind and that there is sufficient performance and runway length for the takeoff. Also, the takeoff surfaces are firm and of sufficient length to permit the airplane to gradually accelerate to normal lift-off and climb-out speed, and there are no obstructions along the takeoff path.”, accessed 8-4-18

The density of air has significant effects on the aircraft’s performance. As air becomes less dense, it reduces:

Power, because the engine takes in less air

Thrust, because the propeller is less efficient in thin air

Lift, because the thin air exerts less force on the airfoils”, p. 11-2

3.3 Cultural Resources

3.3.1 Affected Environment Traditional Cultural Properties

Consultants for the PCSI [Pacific Consulting Services, Inc.] study reported the presence of human burial from observation and oral traditions, but did not provide exact locations…Human burials have not occurred at PTA during modern times, and active community burial traditions at PTA have not been identified. Cultural informants also reported the continued use of old trails that crossed PTA… Research conducted by Maly (1997; Maly & Maly, 2005) involved interviews that considered Mauna Kea and associated the landscapes and view planes. The researchers surmised that Native Hawaiians may feel a “deep cultural attachment to the broad spectrum of natural and cultural resources” found in and around Mauna Kea (Maly 1999, 3) and recommended that the traditions, sites, practices, and continuing significance of Mauna Kea make it “eligible for nomination as a traditional cultural property under federal law and policies” (Maly 1999, 3 cited in US Army Environmental Command 2013a). As noted above, subsequent work by Pacific Consulting Services, Inc. (PCSI, 2012) concluded that no areas within PTA appear to qualify for consideration as TCPs under U.S. National Park Service (NPS) criteria.

Archaeological resources: To-date, there are over 1,200 recorded archaeological sites at PTA,

including at the KMA. These include prehistoric Native Hawaiian sites… p. 3-8

Why do no areas quality as traditional cultural properties, despite human burials, old trails, over 1,200 archaeological sites, and people having “deep cultural attachment to the broad spectrum of natural and cultural resources”?

Why was PCSI hired for further evaluation of TCP status? Was the Army reluctant to accept Maly’s conclusion that a TCP existed?

Note that destruction of many significant sites in the impact area has probably been going on with no mitigation throughout PTA’s history.

Note also that several people, myself included, were shut out of a recent State Historic Preservation meeting in Hilo where some of the issues above may have been explored.

3.4 Biological Resources

3.4.2 Environmental Consequences

A complete EIS should be done to evaluate severe impacts to biological resources from future actions that will be enabled by cantonment improvements. For example, re. fire risks:

Flares released by the UH-1Y and AH-1Z helicopters apparently ignited grass within an environmentally protected area…” Fire sparked during RIMPAC exercises consumes 2,000 acres, West Hawai’i Today, July 19, 2018,, accessed 8-5-18

A range fire that began March 24 within the Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) on Hawaii island during a combined armed live-fire exercise is contained but still smoldering near Range 3 in the PTA impact area…” Pohakuloa fire not a threat to community, PTA officials say, Hawai’i Independent, April 1, 2016,, accessed 8-5-18

3.8 Water Resources

3.8.1 Affected Environment

In 2015, UH researchers developed a successful test well within the PTA cantonment and encountered an aquifer that began at an elevation of about 4,600 feet above sea level (ibid). UH researchers are drilling additional test wells to establish the extent of the groundwater resource. A developable groundwater resource in the Saddle Area would benefit the Army, which currently spends approximately $0.9 million/year to truck water to PTA from a Hawaii County Department of Water Supply source in Waimea, as well as expanding the range of options available for the DHHL’s Humuula/Piihonua lands to the east of PTA…

See comments re.

3.10 Socioeconomics

3.10.2 Environmental Consequences

There would be no socioeconomic impact in the operational period…p. 3-25

There would be no disproportionately high and adverse impacts on low-income or minority groups from construction and operation of the preferred alternative.pp. 3-25 to 3-26

The EA should analyze impacts from human trafficking and elevated housing costs. See news clips below.

Human trafficking

“…the Hawai‘i State Commission on the Status of Women at the Department of Human Services launched its first anti-trafficking campaign to coincide with RIMPAC. The “She is All Women” campaign aims to bring attention to the outsized demand for prostitution in Hawai‘i — a demand met in part by sex trafficking, and that surges during RIMPAC. Major events such as RIMPAC create a significant risk of commercial sexual exploitation to women and girls in Hawaii. The Commission is especially concerned for runaway youth, Native Hawaiian, immigrant, and LGBTQ persons, who are at an elevated risk of the predictive factors for prostitution and sex trafficking… Places with a large military presence often see higher rates of violence against women as a result of a larger process of normalized violence. According to the Sex Trafficking Intervention and Research at Arizona State University, Hawai`i has one of the worst demand problems in the America and a large number of buyers are on its military bases.”

Hawaii State Commission On The Status Of Women Launches Anti-Trafficking Campaign, July 10, 2018,, accessed 8-4-18

Housing costs

They’re in our communities everyday, the men and women who serve our contry.

They live here in a place where homes are limited and rent keeps rising.     
Part of the blame is being put right back on them and the money they get from the government for housing.     

“I would say it does impact the cost and right now the demand is high and strong and these individuals who do get that extra allotment each month it is to their advantage,” Sen. Will Espero – (D) Senate Housing Chairperson said…      

“In general, the impact of 5-to-10 percent. That’s a significant amount of units in the aggregate,” [Real estate analyst] Cassiday said… 

“It’s negative that there’s more competition and potentially pushing people out in certain areas and certain price ranges but the benefits would be they sit here they protect the country they contribute a heck of a lot of money to our economy and therefore there’s a ton of jobs and incomes that are tied to that,” Cassiday said.”

How the military impacts rent prices in Hawaii, Posted: Feb 23, 2017 Updated: Mar 16, 2017,

KITV news,

3.9 Public Facilities and Infrastructure

3.9.2 Environmental Consequences p. 3-24

The EA should evaluate mitigation measures such as a runway truck ramp to reduce the risk from construction trucks, especially those carrying hazardous materials, on Saddle Road. This high-speed, multi-lane highway ends at a stop sign where several crashes have occurred.

3.12 Toxic and Hazardous Substances

3.12.1 Affected Environment

ACMs [asbestos containing materials] were identified in some of the buildings in cement board, mortars, and joint compounds. LBP [lead based paint] was commonly encountered. P. 3-19

The EA should identify measures to protect the public when hazardous materials are transported on Saddle Road for disposal.

4 Cumulative Impacts

Table 4-1 Past, Present, and Reasonably Foreseeable Future Actions p. 4-3

The EA should describe and evaluate negative impacts from past, present, and future actions at PTA—erosion, fires, impacts to native species and native Hawaiian culture, lost opportunities to use this land for agriculture, recreation, housing, commercial activity, etc. The cantonment project will facilitate future PTA actions for years to come.

The EA should describe and evaluate impacts from numerous former military sites on Hawai’i Island left in hazardous condition for decades. The sites contain unexploded ordnance and other hazards.


Section 7, Endangered Species Act Consultation

U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service Letter to USAG Pohakuloa

dated September 28, 2016

Subject: Informal Consultation for Pohakuloa Training Area Facilities Improvement Program

PDF p. 167

Was a formal consultation ever done, and is it required?

Many other people have submitted testimonies calling for a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the military Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA).