(L-R) University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Adjunct Professor Kathy Van Alstyne, Kuleana Coral Restoration Chief Scientific Officer Daniel Demartini, PhD, Colonel Jeremy W. Beaven - Commanding Officer of Marine Corps Base Hawaiʻi, Representative Rose Martinez, and University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa School of Life Science Professor Celia Smith
ʻEwa Beach, Oʻahu – Following initial concerns outlined during an April 2023 press conference regarding the Pu‘uloa Range Training Facility, Representative Rose Martinez, Marine Corps Base Hawaiʻi, and local environmental experts convened together today to provide an update showcasing a mutually agreeable consensus among all involved parties.
During the press conference, Colonel Jeremy W. Beaven, Commanding Officer of Marine Corps Base Hawaiʻi offered insights into a mitigation plan for upcoming testing on contaminants in the Puʻuloa Range Training Facility Shoreline.
Representative Rose Martinez (D-40, Portions of Lower Village and ‘Ewa Beach, Iroquois Point) reiterated longstanding concerns stemming from the ʻEwa community regarding the perceived adverse impacts of noise and lead contamination from the facility to the nearby Pu'uloa Beach Park – a daily recreational spot for ʻEwa families. In April 2023, the House of Representatives adopted House Resolution 104 HD1, calling for the relocation of all live fire training and aviation activities away from the Puʻuloa Range Training Facility. The ʻEwa Neighborhood board underscored these concerns by adopting an accompanying resolution at a meeting held on Wednesday, March 29, 2023.
The ‘Ewa representative today shared an update on a consensus that was met by all parties.
"I'm happy to report that following discussions with Marine Corps Base Hawaiʻi and other community stakeholders, we have come to an agreement on the necessary measures to address our community's concerns. I'm pleased that they have acknowledged their responsibility and are committed to taking proactive steps, including the development of a timeline for lead testing, while actively engaging community stakeholders throughout the process," said Representative Rose Martinez.
Colonel Jeremy W. Beaven expressed his gratitude to Rep. Martinez for her willingness to share her community's concerns and offer guidance to MCBH as they move forward in implementing a sampling and analysis plan for the Puʻuloa Range Training Facility Shoreline.
"Over the last several months, my Environmental Compliance and Protection Division has been working diligently with the Department of Health - Office of Hazardous Evaluation & Emergency Response to develop a sampling and analysis plan. This plan will let us move forward into being able to characterize the nature of the ecosystem to be able to ensure that we have mitigating plans in place, to mitigate any effects of any contaminants that could be harmful to the community," said Colonel Jeremy W. Beaven.
With the plan approved, Colonel Beaven explained that they are looking at stages of implementation and are looking to partner with local scientists to offer third-party oversight. They are also examining steps to contract an EPA-approved laboratory for testing, as well as ensure the integrity of the data and samples that are obtained.
Local environmental experts demonstrated their support for the mitigation plan during the press conference. Among them were University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa School of Life Science Professor Celia Smith, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Adjunct Professor Kathy Van Alstyne, and Kuleana Coral Restoration Chief Scientific Officer Daniel Demartini, PhD.
Referring to themselves as the scientists on board, they issued a joint statement, "The residents of ʻEwa rely heavily on the health of their coastline. We three marine biologists were identified as locally concerned scientists and invited to help identify independent labs to conduct these needed assays for the Department of Health-approved sampling of Puʻuloa Range. We look forward to working with this process in good faith, to ensure that the sampling is appropriate, that the data will be rigorously analyzed, and that the findings will be used to inform decisions to minimize public health risk."
Colonel Beaven concluded the press conference by underscoring the importance of being good neighbors and partners, and reaffirming Marine Corps Base Hawaiʻi's commitment to continued cooperation and open communication with the ʻEwa community.