State briefs for October 26

Honolulu committee rejects Navy’s fuel tank upgrade proposal

HONOLULU — A Honolulu City Council committee passed a resolution asking regulators to reject a U.S. Navy proposal to upgrade a fuel storage facility, officials said.


The committee voted unanimously Wednesday to reject the Navy’s plan to pursue tank upgrades at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility.

The Navy’s Sept. 9 tank upgrade proposal has not yet received approval from the Environmental Protection Agency and state Department of Health, officials said.

The resolution passed by the public infrastructure, technology and sustainability committee seeks secondary containment tank upgrades.

If secondary containment is not possible, the city will pursue relocation of the facility’s 20 underground fuel tanks away from the Southern Oahu Basal Aquifer, officials said.

The aquifer lies below the tanks and is the principal source of drinking water for more than 750,000 Oahu residents, officials said.

The full city council is scheduled to consider the resolution Nov. 6.

“We have an opportunity here to prevent contamination — tank-within-a-tank is the best solution,” said Erwin Kawata of the city Board of Water Supply. “If that is unfeasible, the fuel should be removed and relocated away from the groundwater.”

The deadline for tank upgrades is 2037, but the Navy has proposed an extended timeline to 2045. The extension would enable secondary containment of “double-wall equivalency” or, if that is not possible, removal of the fuel, officials said.

Single-wall constructed tanks are not the final solution and the Navy is pursuing secondary-containment technologies, although the “technology does not currently exist” for a fiscally responsible approach to the issue, said Capt. Marc Delao, regional engineer for Navy Region Hawaii.

Hawaii man convicted of manslaughter for machete attack

WAILUKU, Maui — A Maui man was convicted of manslaughter for a fatal machete attack at a Maui shopping center against a man he said was a demon.

Kumulipo Sylva, 24, was not convicted of the original charge of second-degree murder for the March 2018 death of 35-year-old Eduardo Alejandro Cerezo.

A jury convicted Sylva Wednesday of manslaughter based on extreme mental or emotional disturbance.

Cerezo and another man were drinking alcohol in a public bathroom at the Queen Kaahumanu Center when Sylva struck Cerezo in the neck with the machete, killing him instantly, authorities said.

With no dispute that Sylva killed Cerezo, the trial focused on his mental state. Deputy Public Defender Ben Lowenthal said the homeless man was suffering from a disorder that caused delusions and asked the jury to find Sylva not guilty by reason of insanity.

Sylva testified he was “in a fog” for days and cannot remember much about the attack because his mental health medication had been stolen. He received psychiatric medication the night before at a hospital emergency room, he testified.

“The person you swung at in the bathroom, what was that person,” Lowenthal asked Sylva during testimony.

“One of Satan’s minions,” Sylva said. “I told him, ‘Tell Satan, Kumulipo sent you,’ and I swung.”

A psychologist and a psychiatrist testified that Sylva was substantially impaired by his mental illness and not criminally responsible.

“He saw a demon. He killed a demon. His mission is to rid the world of demons,” Lowenthal said during his closing argument.


Sylva showed he knew right from wrong and could control his behavior when he testified, “That man had it coming,” Deputy Prosecutor Carson Tani told jurors.

Sylva is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 24.

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