U.S. Navy Allegedly Responsible for Polluting Drinking Water with Petroleum on O’ahu, Hawai’i
Calls for Transparency and Accountability Spread Across O’ahu
The United States Navy faces backlash over their contamination of the drinking water in O’ahu, Hawai’i. Thousands of residents have experienced polluted water after a fuel storage facility leaked at least 14,000 gallons of jet fuel and marine diesel into the environment which contaminated the local Red Hill Well and may have polluted the aquifer that supplies other O’ahu water sources. Complaints began rolling in of tap water which smelled like fuel and caused serious health concerns when consumed. Although the Navy has been tasked with cleanup, residents have been displaced from their homes and many have been hospitalized by the side effects of drinking water polluted with jet fuel.
Has your drinking water been polluted with petroleum?
Residents Are Experiencing Severe Side Effects
Immediately following the leak, the Navy Region Hawai’i Public Affairs released a statement claiming no pollutants entered the environment and the drinking water remained safe for consumption. However, in the days that followed, hundreds complained of water that smelled like jet fuel and severe illness. The Navy hosted a town hall to address concerns where it revealed the full scope of the contamination. Thousands showed up in-person or tuned in virtually to demand accountability and transparency from the Navy.
Following reports of water contamination from the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, the Hawai’i Department of Health has ordered the Navy immediately stop their activities at the facility. This emergency order came nearly a week after residents were told to avoid drinking the tap water. Governor Ige, Senators Brian Schatz and Mazie K. Hirono, and Representatives Ed Case and Kaiali’I Kahele also issued a joint statement noting, “Test results confirming contamination of drinking water at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam show that the Navy is not effectively operating the World War II-era facility and protecting the health and safety of the people of Hawaii.” O’ahu locals, including infants, have suffered major medical concerns after ingesting the jet fuel-contaminated water. Complaints include:
- Mouth and throat sores
- Diarrhea, especially in infants
- Stomach cramps
About Bronster Fujichaku Robbins
Bronster Fujichaku Robbins (BFR) is a Hawai’i-based boutique litigation firm staffed by legal professionals ranging from former judges to former Attorneys General. BFR has handled a wide variety of litigation such as commercial, estate, consumer rights, and civil rights matters since 1999.
About McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP
MWA is a national consumer law firm operating in the mainland with offices serving Southern California, the Midwest, and the East Coast for more than 30 years. Although MWA is not authorized to practice law in Hawai’i, the firm is collaborating with local law firm, Bronster Fujichaku Robbins, to coordinate cases and represent wronged O’ahu residents in Hawai’i.
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Attorneys Handling this Case
Ms. Bronster was the Attorney General for the State of Hawai’i from 1995-1999. During her term, she won widespread critical and public acclaim for successfully leading a years-long investigation into abuses by the trustees of the Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate charitable trust, the largest private trust in the country. That effort led to the forced resignation of four of the five trustees and a complete overhaul of the Trust’s administration and the manner in which the trustees were selected. She also won a multi-billion dollar Master Settlement Agreement from tobacco companies on behalf of the State of Hawai’i. Ms. Bronster graduated from Brown University and the Columbia University Law School, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar.
Following her career as Attorney General, she became a founding partner of Bronster Hoshibata, which is now known as Bronster Fujichaku Robbins, and she has continued her work in a broad variety of litigation and counseling matters including complex commercial litigation, government law, trust and estate litigation, investor losses and antitrust litigation. Ms. Bronster’s accomplishments in these areas have been recognized by international, national, and local organizations, and she recently served as an expert witness on Hawai’i law before the Supreme Court of Singapore.
She is a recipient of the: Profiles in Courage Award, Conference of Western Attorneys General, 2000 (Southerwestern Bell); Kelly- Wyman Award for Outstanding Attorney General, 1999 (National Association of Attorneys General); Fellow of the Pacific Award for Outstanding Service to the Community, 2000 (Hawai’i Pacific University); “Advocate of the Year” – American Cancer Society Hawai’i Chapter, 1999; Top Cop – State of Hawai’i Law Enforcement Coalition of Police Officers and Security Personnel, 1999; and “Woman Lawyer of the Year”, Hawai’i Women Lawyers. In addition, she has authored “Litigating a Class Action Suit in Hawai’i” (2001). Guest Speaker, “Be A Change Agent”, HawaiiBusiness Leadership Conference, July 21, 2015. Ms. Bronster has been recognized by the Litigation Counsel of America as a Senior Fellow.
Ms. Bronster has also been recognized by Best Lawyers in America as 2016 “Lawyer of the Year” in Honolulu, in the practice area of Insurance Litigation.
Cory R. Weck is a Partner at McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP, and leads the Personal Injury Practice Group. For 25 years, Mr. Weck has been a leading trial attorney for clients in both the Inland Empire and the Marine Corps. He has represented hundreds of clients in all matters arising out of personal injury litigation. Mr. Weck has been peer selected as one of the top 5% of attorneys, selected to the California Super Lawyers list every year since 2012.
He has also served as a Marine Corps officer for over 20 years. He was commissioned as a second Lieutenant in 1994 and then served as a defense counsel representing Marines accused of violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Prior to leaving active duty he represented military commanders as a prosecutor for the busiest trial shop in the Department of Defense. As a result of his trial results and dedication to justice he was selected as the “Top Young Lawyer of the Year for the U.S. Marine Corps” by the American Bar Association in 1999. Since 2001, Mr. Weck continued to serve as an active Reserve officer for the Marines until his retirement in 2017.
He is rated as Distinguished™ by Martindale-Hubbell® and is the past president of the Inland Empire chapter of the Consumer Attorneys of California.
Cory’s a fighter and offers exceptional representations to his clients. He’s also a great representative for the Inland Empire.Peer Review
He is level headed, makes good judgements, communicates well with his clients.Peer Review
I am happy to know that a firm of this caliber is in Redlands and would HIGHLY recommend them.Deborah O.
I felt like my lawyer understood me and would take my case personally.John S.