Hawaiʻi island peace activists reported that elevated levels of uranium have been found in residents’ urine and demanded that the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Health take more aggressive measures to investigate the cause of this contamination. After falsely claiming that the Army had not used Depleted Uranium (DU) in Hawaiʻi, the Army now admits to DU contamination in Schofield (Līhuʻe, Oʻahu) and Pōhakuloa Training Area. The Hawaiʻi County Council passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on live fire training in Pōhakuloa as long as DU contamination is present.
On December 5, 2012, the peace organization Malu ʻĀina staged an action at the state Department of Health offices:
A group of 2 dozen Big island residents, many wearing Hazmat type suits, dramatically urged the State Health Department (DOH) to stop being bystanders and become pro-active advocates of public health over the issue of Military Depleted Uranium (DU) radiation contamination at the Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA). In a protest organized by Malu ‘Aina at the Hilo DOH Environmental Health Office, citizens prodded the DOH to follow the Hawaii County Council’s action call in Resolution 639-08 to stop all live-fire and other activities that create dust until there is a clean up of the uranium contamination at PTA. There were several signs with the well known radiation symbol. Other signs read “Test For Radiation; Why Uranium in Urine?; No More Radiation; Peace thru Poison?, Time to Aloha ‘Aina; Time to Mother Earth; DU equals Dirty Bomb, Sacred Mountains under Siege.” There was even the appearance of a well known Hilo resident, playing the role of Governor Neil Abercrombie.
Jim Albertini, of Malu ‘Aina said “DOH action is needed to investigate what’s causing uranium showing up in Big island resident’s urine. Is it uranium weapons that have been fired at PTA or something else? Three MDs and a Naturopathic doctor have patients who have tested high for uranium in urine, including levels exceeding three times the upper expected limit.” Albertini said, “it’s likely that far more uranium weapons have been used at PTA than the 700 hundred or two thousand Davy Crockett DU spotting rounds from the 1960s. Comprehensive independent testing and monitoring is needed to determine the full extent of radiation contamination at PTA and other sites throughout Hawaii. The DOH should be offering free uranium urine tests for Big Island residents, especially people who work at PTA, or travel the Saddle Rd..”
On December 12, 2012, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) held a conference with the Army over the Army’s application for a license to “possess” DU at Schofield and Pōhakuloa. In a submittal to the NRC, the Army requested an exemption from NRC oversight for the DU contamination in its ranges:
Request an exemption for the US Army from licensing residual Davy Crockett M101 DU on its operational ranges under the provisions of 10 CFR § 40.13(c)(5) or 10 CFR § 40.14(a).
Hawaiʻi island activist Jim Albertini issued the following statement on the NRC meeting with the Army (12/12/2012, 10 am – 1 pm HST). The public could listen in and make comments/ask questions at the end of the meeting:
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will be issuing a license for the mongoose to guard the hen house in Hawaii. The Army will be issued an NRC license to possess Depleted uranium (DU) in Hawaii at Schofield Barracks and the Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA). In effect, the NRC is licensing Hawaii nuclear waste dumps and allowing those dumps to be bombed, spreading the nuclear dump debris wherever the wind takes it. The State Dept. of Health made no comment, nor did it ask any questions, following the meeting. It is a fact that DU exists at Schofield Barracks and PTA, and perhaps other present and former military sites in Hawaii, including Kaho’olawe and Makua Valley. How much is not known. A minimum of 700, perhaps more than 2000, DU Davy Crockett spotting rounds have been fired at Pohakuloa. Less than 1% of PTA’s 133,000-acres have been surveyed. DU cluster bombs, and more than a dozen DU penetrating rounds, DU bunker busters, etc. may also have been fired at PTA and elsewhere. All branches of the US military use DU weapons today. It’s clear to me that we cannot rely on so called regulators to fix the problem. Nuclear regulators are just as much part of the problem as bank regulators. The DOH is also part of the problem. Where have our health officials been all these years on the issue. The military in Hawaii has lied and use deception repeatedly. The US military mission goes before concern for the health and safety of its own troops and Hawaii’s people and land. Uranium is now showing up in Big Island residents’ urine. Is it related to PTA, Fukushima or what? The people have a right to know. Is the military above the law? What’s needed is a peoples’ movement of non-violent resistance to stop the bombing to protect the people and land of Hawaii against attacks by the U.S. military.