Tweed Airport Expansion

Location: New Haven, CT | Status: Active 

Summary: Save the Sound has filed multiple comments and testified publicly to require Tweed Airport Authority to prepare a complete and adequate Environmental Impact Study to detail the significant environmental impacts the airport will have on flooding, the surrounding wetlands, and environmental justice communities. 

Tweed New Haven Airport is located three miles southeast of downtown New Haven. Tweed is one of two airports in Connecticut with regularly scheduled commercial service, the other being Bradley International Airport. In 2021, Tweed announced its intentions to extend the airport’s main runway by over 900 feet and construct a new terminal. Since the airport is located within in the heart of a flood-prone zone and in anticipation of rising sea levels, the 70,000-square foot terminal would be built on stilts and elevated eight feet above the current terminal’s height. 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) conditionally approved of the expansion, pending environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Under NEPA the federal agency must prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) to determine whether or not a federal action has the potential to cause significant environmental effects. If the EA determines that the action will cause significant environmental impacts, then the agency must prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The regulatory requirements for an EIS are more rigorous and detailed than those for an EA. 

Save the Sound has now submitted a letter (April 2022), testified at a public hearing, and submitted formal comments (May 2023), calling for the agency to prepare a full EIS. The draft EA omits any wetlands mitigation measures and inadequately analyzes the impacts to local flooding, wetlands, surface water quality, and various coastal resources. Remarkably, the draft EA projects an improvement to air quality in nearby neighborhoods by creating flight projections that show enplanements remaining constant. The whole point of the expansion, however, including a vastly expanded parking lot, is to increase those enplanements, and it will clearly lead to more flights, worsening air quality, and wildlife strikes. Moreover, the expansion of the runway and terminal will necessitate the expansion of the parallel taxiway, and the draft EA fails to study the impact the taxiway expansion will have on tidal wetlands. In addition to Save the Sound, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (CT DEEP), and the Town of East Haven submitted comments on the draft EA expressing similar concerns. 

Latest Step: On May 1 2023, the comment letter was submitted to the FAA. 

Next Step: Any time now the FAA may issue the final EA which will determine whether the expansion will have significant environmental impacts. If the FAA determines that the expansion will have significant environmental impacts, then an EIS will be required. 

Further Reading: 

Action Opportunities: 

  1. Become a Save the Sound Member 
  2. Become a Pollution Watchdog

Last Updated: December 3, 2023 

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