MARTINEZ REQUESTS RELOCATION OF LIVE FIRE TRAINING & AVIATION ACTIVITIES AWAY FROM PU‘ULOA RANGE
ʻEwa Beach, Oʻahu – To address escalating concerns surrounding the Pu‘uloa Range Training Facility, the House of Representatives today adopted House Resolution 104 HD1, introduced by Representative Rose Martinez.
The resolution was passed in response to public outcry regarding the detrimental effects of noise and lead contamination from the facility to nearby Pu'uloa Beach Park where ʻEwa families gather and use daily. The ʻEwa Neighborhood board also adopted an accompanying resolution at a meeting held on Wednesday, March 29, 2023.
"The ‘Ewa Beach community has dealt with the negative impacts of the Pu‘uloa Range Training Facility for far too long. We are asking the Marine Corps Base Hawaiʻi to take responsibility and address the concerns of our community. We need to ensure that the appropriate parties are held accountable for the impact of the range on nearby neighborhoods, and that they take the necessary steps to mitigate those impacts," said Representative Rose Martinez (D-40, Portions of Lower Village and ‘Ewa Beach, Iroquois Point).
According to the resolution, in 2011, the Marine Corps Base Hawaiʻi doubled the length of the Alpha Range in the Pu‘uloa Range Training Facility, without inviting public input or conducting an environmental assessment. Residents complain that this has resulted in a significant increase in noise pollution in the surrounding neighborhoods, termination of TheBus services to Iroquois Point, as well as the closure of a potential tsunami evacuation route. In recent years, concerns regarding the potential for stray bullet impact to nearby schools, churches, homes, and parks have also been raised.
Additionally, area residents remain worried about the facility's impact on their health, safety, and quality of life.
“I'm a retired Air Force Veteran and have been diagnosed with PTSD from my combat deployments. I live next to Pu‘uloa Park. When I hear the loudspeaker coming from the shooting range at 6-o-clock in the morning, it reminds me of the big voice at military bases to tell people that we're under attack. The shooting is constant, and I still check outside if we're getting shot at,” said ʻEwa Beach Resident Scott Cummings.
Environmental advocates have outlined concerns not only about the adverse effects of the range on neighboring communities and the environment, but also the cultural impacts in the Pu‘uloa and ʻEwa Beach area.
"High levels of lead contamination from live fire training found in the region surrounding the Pu‘uloa Range Training Facility, along with planned future activities at the site – including shoreline hardening for erosion control as well as increased aviation activities-- could significantly impact adjacent cultural sites and nearshore resources relied upon for cultural and subsistence practices," said Wayne Tanaka, Executive Director of Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi.
“The Surfrider Foundation supports remediating contamination and repurposing the Pu’uloa Range in such a manner that Native Hawaiian gathering rights be restored via unrestricted public beach access to the half mile of the sandy Pu‘uloa shoreline, and supports HR104," said Elizabeth Benyshek of Surfrider Foundation - Oʻahu Chapter.
HR104 HD1 urges all live fire training and aviation activities to be relocated away from the Pu‘uloa Range Training Facility. Now that the Resolution has been adopted, certified copies of the resolution will be transmitted to the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps; Commander, INDO-PACIFIC Command; Commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific; Commanding General, Marine Installations Pacific; Commander, Marine Corps Base Hawaii; members of Hawaii's Congressional Delegation; Governor; Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources; Director of Health; Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu; and members of the Honolulu City Council.
Representative Martinez expresses hope that this Resolution conveys the significance of the issue to the state and signals her desire to collaborate with stakeholders to identify a feasible course of action moving forward.