Shoreline Residents Form Organization to Oppose Tweed New Haven Airport Expansion
Wanda Bubriski & Susan Bryson
Over 1,600 residents from across the greater New Haven region and beyond signed a recent petition calling for a rigorous scientific environmental study of this planned massive expansion with full public involvement.
Save Our Shoreline CT (SOS) was formed in the spring of 2022 to acquire and disseminate information about the proposed expansion of Tweed Airport, a local airport situated on Long Island Sound in the heart of a close residential neighborhood. The expansion proposed by an Updated Master Plan unveiled in late 2021 would transform a small local airport (a 15,000 sf one-counter terminal with a 5500 ft runway length and annual enplanements averaging under 40,000) into a huge airport for all of southern Connecticut, competitive with Bradley (50 miles north). By creating a 75,000 sf. terminal, a 6500 ft. runway (with goal of 7600 ft – even longer than La Guardia’s – when space allows, after the demolition of homes, it appears), and with enplanement estimates that range from a low of 250,000 to a million (estimated to be 1 flight every 12-15 minutes), at a minimum the airport would be five times the size of the operation as it existed prior to Goldman Sachs involvement. Over the 43 years of Goldman Sachs control as tenant of the east side (terminal and parking), and manager of the west side (runway and air facilities), the airport’s size would likely increase many times over as it acquires more land.
The location of the airport could hardly be worse. It’s situated in a watershed basin with two creeks running into Long Island Sound. Surrounding wetlands offer bird refuge and migratory paths for hawks. One of the creeks runs through Lighthouse Point Park, one of the few parks providing public beach access and is home to a natural oyster bed. Homes surround the site, including at both ends of the runway. Nearby are schools, churches, and more parks. It’s a close community, one that has valiantly fought expansion for decades. It’s already a highly impacted, polluted area as is evidenced by health data showing higher than statewide norms for respiratory illness including, notably, asthma among children.
SOS is not against the airport. Amidst climate change, however, with scalable alternatives in place at Bradley and elsewhere, SOS challenges the wisdom of this expansion—as do a growing number of citizens and groups in the greater New Haven region. Following Save the Sound’s lead in urging the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), other environmental and citizen groups, along with elected officials including the Mayor of East Haven and State Senators Looney and Cohen, as well as the above-mentioned 1,600 petition signers, have all called on the FAA to conduct a full EIS.
Decisions on Tweed Airport will affect the health and wellbeing of our beloved shoreline communities now and for generations to come. If we are to get it right, objective facts including informed community voices are essential in the evaluation of the extensive health, environmental, and economic impacts looming over this airport expansion.
SOS welcomes support from Sierra Club and its members, and looks forward to collaborating on outings and other means of public engagement. For more information and to get involved contact SaveOurShorelineCT@gmail.com.
Susan Bryson and Wanda Bubriski of the Branford Short Beach neighborhood are advocates fighting the Tweed Airport expansion.
Photo: "Avelo Plane coming in for landing over East Haven homes, November 2022."
Photo Credit: Ken Engelman.
Photo: "Low Flying 737 over East Haven Houses, early 2022."
Photo Credit: 10,000 Hawks.