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Environmental Assessment on Managing Cultural Resources

Stop bombing Hawaii!

 The Army’s Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) has just completed an Environmental Assessment (EA) on “Managing Cultural resources.”  The document says “the general objectives of the cultural resources management program are to eliminate impacts to the military missions arising from cultural resources…” according to a front page article in the Nov. 11, 2017 Hawaii Tribune-Herald. Shouldn’t that be the other way around – eliminate impacts to cultural resources from military missions? Or do military missions trump all?  Malu ‘Aina urges public meetings on Hawaii island for community feedback. The military PTA Public Affairs officer, Eric Hamilton, says such meetings are not required, therefore none are planned. His phone numbers are 969-1966 office, and 824-1474. For people off island dial 1-808 first. Email for Eric Hamilton usaghi.pao.comrel@us.army.mil
 Our overall demands are Stop All Live-Fire Training at PTA, Clean-Up of the military created toxic mess at PTA, including Depleted Uranium radiation contamination, and then Shut-Down PTA. Meanwhile, the military should provide access to cultural and religious sites in this sacred area “Pohakuloa—the Land of the Night of Long Prayer” and immediately stop further desecration of this sacred heavenly realm located between Mauna Loa and Mauna A Wakea. The public comment deadline for the EA is Dec. 7, 2017.The 212-page Army environmental assessment can be found athttps://www.garrison.hawaii.army.mil/NEPA/NEPA.htmComments can be emailed to usaghi.pao.comrel@us.army.mil or mailed to: Directorate of Public Works, U.S. Army Garrison, Hawaii Environmental Division (IMHW-PWE) 947 Wright Ave., Wheeler Army Airfield Schofield Barracks, HI 96857-5013.

DU contamination

Pohakuloa DU Threat   

The front page, Sunday, April 16, 2017 Hawaii Tribune-Herald headline about “No DU Threat” is a classic example of Fake News. The truth is that inhalation of Depleted Uranium (DU) oxide dust particles are “the most deadly form of radiation.” This is according to Hawaii resident, Dr. Lorrin Pang, MD, 25 years retired from the Army medical Corps and listed in the who's who best doctors.  Let's be clear. DU metal on the ground at Pohakuloa does not pose a serious health threat. But if that metal has been hit with high explosives it burns and turns the metal into DU oxide dust particles which can be carried long distances in the wind. If anyone inhails DU oxide particles those particles can remain in your body for decades causing a wide range of problems including cancer, and genetic damage to future generations.   DU was first used by the military at Pohakuloa in the early 1960s fired into the 50,000 plus acre impact area. That impact area has been subjected to decades of high explosives firing ever since. The military disclosed in an Environmental study in the early 2000s that over 14 million live-rounds are fired annually at Pohakuloa. A current figure is not available. I suspect it is even higher now.  There are dozens of various DU weapons in the US arsenal since the 1960s used by the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Modern DU weapons are known as “penetrators.” They are made of solid DU metal. When fired, the DU metal begins to burn and when it hits a hard target –tank, armored vehicle, etc. it slices right through the armor, like a hot knief through butter, and explodes at 3000degrees. There is no documentation that DU penetrators have been fired at Pohakuloa but for decades there was no documentation that Davy Crockett DU spotting rounds were used either. But given the fact that all sorts of weapons have been used at Pohakuloa, it seems reasonable to conclude that DU penetrators, along with other DU spotting rounds, etc may have been used. That's why it is extremely important that independent comprehensive testing and monitoring be done to determine the full extent of DU contamination and what's coming off PTA blowing in the wind. If the military has nothing to hide they would welcome such an independent study to assure the confidence of the community. But the military has been stonewalling efforts by the community.

On a personal note...

For most Kanaka Maoli, there is an understanding that the people and the environment are intrinsically related and entwined.  What is done to the land is in fact done to the people.  Needless to say, Hawaiians are not the only race or group of people on the planet that understands this scientific and spiritual truth.  I for example was born on Ute Indian Lands in Salt Lake City, Utah form Irish, Scottish, English and Danish descent and yet my entire life has been literally formed and informed by my love of the Land.  I have traveled to many, many sacred sites in India, Europe, Mexico, Hawai'i and all throughout the United States of America.  I have lived on 4 of the main 8 Hawaiian Islands and I have visited all of them over the past 17 years.  When I was on a journey to Kaho'olawe to plant indigenous trees and shrubs on the littered and broken soil of that once beautiful island, I was forever changed.  No matter how deeply I so love these Lands and Seas, I was not born here.  One could extrapolate that my pain no matter how dire upon seeing, hearing about and feeling the destruction of these islands, might be but a fraction of what the Kanaka Maoli endure on a daily basis.  I cannot imagine watching the bones of my grandparents and great grandparents being bulldozed for some foreigner's luxury home or a telescope in the name of progress, for example.  But it, "Doesn't take a weather man to know which way the wind blows".  We are all interconnected like all the living systems on this planet.  Those without empathy will lack that awareness and be unable to respond to the environmental crisis we are all in.  Perhaps it is up to those who do have empathy and can hear what the Land and the People of the Land are saying, "Stop destroying us".

Related Issues:

"The Navy has prepared a Draft EIS/OEIS to re-evaluate potential environmental impacts associated with ongoing naval training and research, development, testing, and evaluation (hereafter referred to as “training and testing”) activities conducted within existing Navy range complexes in Hawaii and Southern California, and the transit corridor that connects them. These activities involve the use of active sound navigation and ranging (sonar) and explosives while employing marine species protective mitigation measures". https://hstteis.com/

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