Hawai’i island residents blast Army expansion at Pohakuloa

The Hawaii Tribune Herald reports that more than fifty people turned out to testify against the Army’s proposed expansion of training facilities at Pohakuloa.

“We don’t want any further militarization of our island,” Bunny Smith said.

According the Hawaii Tribune Herald,

The next step is to come up with the (cost) numbers to construct,” Egami said of the modernization of training infrastructure and the construction and operation of a battle area within the 132,000-acre military facility.

Meeting the 25th Infantry Division’s training requirements will necessitate constructing a 200-acre Infantry Platoon Battle Area, according to the DEIS. Included will be a simulated battle course consisting of a live-fire shoothouse and a building like those found in urban warfare.

Also, the Army wants to construct various buildings for munitions storage, vehicle maintenance and administrative use. Those and related facilities would be built outside the 200-acre battle area.

Testimony was colorful and passionate:

Hawaii needs “houses of justice and peace” rather than military shoothouses, said peace activist Jim Albertini of the Malu ‘Aina Center for Nonviolent Education and Action.

“We want the U.S. to stop bombing Hawaii,” he said.

In directly addressing Army Col. Douglas Mulbury, commander of the Army Garrison Hawaii, Moanikeala Akaka said the military will have to pay tens of millions of dollars to remove World War II-era bombs like one found recently at Hapuna Beach State Park.

“You know, it’s hard to have respect for your institution when you ignore and so callously treat our homeland,” she said.

“We say no expansion; do it somewhere else,” Akaka shouted, generating applause from the audience.

Claiming the military is in Hawaii illegally, Cory Harden of the Sierra Club questioned whether the firing will dislodge depleted uranium found at PTA, triggering fires like those that have occurred at the Army’s Makua site on Oahu, or pose other public health risks.

“You’ve got to wonder what hazards are lurking out there. Apparently, nobody knows,” she said.


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