By Environmental Justice Task Force Chair, Susan Gorman-Chang
Traditional media outlets have reported breaking news of the November 2021 Red Hill fuel leak: the amount of fuel released, the risk to our aquifer, and concerns about the jet fuel plume spreading. As weeks gave way to months, thousands of people lived without clean running water.
Unfortunately, Red Hill and its impact on collective well-being has begun to fade from the public consciousness. Consequently, Faith Action’s Environmental Justice Task Force (EJTF) set out to focus on the narrative of families directly affected by the fuel leak. They did this via a virtual panel discussion on July 21st, featuring military and civilian residents whose water came from the contaminated U.S. Navy's water system.
Four courageous women shared how the crisis disrupted their families’ vital routines and continues to negatively affect their lives, health, and general well-being. They described how they each first found out about the dangerous leakage through bits and pieces from Facebook, articles from Civil Beat and personal observation of the smell and sheen of their water, despite the Navy’s public declaration that the water was safe at that time. They disclosed serious illnesses their families are enduring because of painful exposure to jet fuel-laced water. Most frustrating for them was the dismissive military medical staff who refused to acknowledge that their ailments were results of jet fuel contamination.
We are grateful to the four women who stepped up to advocate on behalf of their community and to remind us that people are still suffering from the water crisis which has not yet ended.
A recording of the Red Hill Resident Panel is available to view here.
The Environmental Justice Task Force works in collaboration with the Shut Down Red Hill Coalition. If you wish to learn more about or join EJTF, please email chair Susan Gorman-Chang, at firstname.lastname@example.org.