Wheeler Street – Environmental Justice Action

Location: New Haven | Status: Pending 

Summary: Save the Sound participated in administrative proceedings and has intervened in a Superior Court action to argue that the New Haven City Plan Commission has full authority to impose conditions on a solid waste transfer station to protect residents of the Annex neighborhood from the environmentally unjust impacts of the facility. Murphy Road Recycling (MRR) operates a solid waste transfer facility in the Annex – one of Connecticut’s most environmentally overburdened neighborhoods. As part of its operation, MRR receives up to 967 tons (or 245 truckloads) of waste daily, six days a week. When MRR sought to renew its special permit to operate, the New Haven City Plan Commission (Comm’n) heard testimony from community members, Save the Sound, and partner organizations about the impact this operation has on public health and the environment. Specifically, it heard nearby residents describe loud noises coming from MRR at all hours of the night, foul and overwhelming odors surrounding MRR, and vermin infestations that have occurred as a result of its operations. To address these impacts, the Comm’n imposed conditions on MRR’s special permit designed to mitigate its impact on the community. 

In June 2022, MRR sued the Comm’n, claiming, among other things, that the Comm’n overstepped its authority and acted arbitrarily when it imposed these conditions. In Februrary 2023, Save the Sound filed a Verified Petition to Intervene under the Connecticut Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), claiming that MRR creates a public nuisance and poses substantial environmental burdens on an already overburdened community.  

In June 2023, Save the Sound filed a brief in Connecticut Superior Court, arguing that the Comm’n acted within its authority by imposing conditions on the special permit and, therefore, the Comm’n’s decision to do so should be affirmed. Save the Sound will participate in argument before the state Superior Court on the merits of this case which is scheduled for Februrary 2024.  

Latest Step: Filed a brief in opposition to MRR’s appeal.

Next Step: Oral argument in February 2024.

Further Reading:  

Action Opportunities: 

Last Updated: November 7, 2023

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