Christine Cohen

State Senator

Christine Cohen

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Listening, Advocating & Getting Results

March 31, 2023

Looney, Cohen & Paolillo Renew Call for Environmental Impact Statement at Tweed

Today, Senate President Martin Looney (D-New Haven), State Senator Christine Cohen (D-Guilford) and State Representative Al Paolillo (D-New Haven) renewed their call for Tweed New Haven Airport to allow for a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to show true long-term and short-term risks, as well as extending the comment period to a full 90 days.

Earlier this month, Tweed released an Environmental Assessment on the project, but the legislators feel that the airport authority needs to go further.

“While we appreciate Tweed finally releasing an Environmental Assessment, we still feel that alone it does not go far enough to examine the potential risks of the project, both to the wildlife and delicate ecosystems surrounding the airport and to our constituents living in the area,” Looney, Cohen, and Paolillo said in a combined statement.

A full Environmental Impact Statement will provide a more in-depth and comprehensive picture of these risks, both short-term and long-term. The legislators are urging the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to require that an EIS be completed for the proposed expansion.

“In addition, we also ask that the public comment period be extended beyond the original 45 days, and subsequent 15-day extension, to a full additional 45-day extension to provide at least a 90-day comment period. With the complexity of a several hundred-page report, we don’t think that’s too much to ask,” the legislators said. “We want to encourage public participation in this process and allowing public comment for a longer period of time is one way to do so.”

In letters addressed to the New England regional administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration in October and November of last year, Looney, Cohen and Paolillo noted numerous constituents concerns, including pollution and noise resulting from more flights and changing flight paths, as well as late-night and early-morning arrivals and departures.

“The United States Environmental Protection Agency, in a report published in October 2022, reclassified New Haven County as being in severe non-attainment of national ozone standards, and the communities surrounding Tweed suffer from higher levels of fine particulate matter than many others in the state. Both conditions can have serious cumulative effects on health and quality of life, increasing the risk of lung and heart disease and shortening life expectancy. The potential increase in pollutants that would accompany the proposed Tweed expansion raises serious concerns about the health and safety of those living in the environmental justice communities surrounding the airport,” Sen. Looney and Rep. Paolillo noted in a November 23rd letter to the FAA.

“Based on the significance of the proposed changes and their suspected effects on the area ecosystem for which Tweed New Haven Airport has designated for expansion, I feel it is not only prudent, but necessary to undertake the most rigorous review possible and determine the appropriate path forward,” Senator Cohen stated in an October 21st letter to the FAA. “An EIS will provide a roadmap if you will, clarifying any detriments or benefits to the surroundings and highlighting the safeguards needed for a project of this magnitude.”

Senator Looney, Senator Cohen, and Representative Paolillo strongly encourage residents and stakeholders to participate in the public information workshop and hearing on the draft EA at East Haven High School Saturday, April 1, which will begin with an “open house” question-and-answer session from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by a more formal hearing from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.