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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Zullo

East Haven State Rep. Joe Zullo Rails Against “Finding of No Significant Impact” (FONSI) by the Federal Aviation Administration with respect to Tweed New Haven Airport and Environmental Assessment

EAST HAVEN — “I am disappointed in and bewildered by the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) finding that there will be no significant impacts from the proposed expansion of runway 09-20 at Tweed Airport, the construction of an 80,000 square foot east terminal, the construction of a new apron at the east terminal, and the construction of approximately 4,000 new parking spaces. 

 

The FAA acknowledges that over nine hundred (900) pieces of testimony were submitted with respect to the Environmental Assessment (EA).   Those comments, many from residents living around the airport and who stand to be most affected by the plainly foreseeable noise, air quality, traffic, and environmental impacts, appear to have been flatly ignored.  The FONSI’s record of decision, which totals a mere twenty-five (25) pages, gives the green light for Avports to make changes at the airport that will irrevocably alter our community for generations.  It is inconceivable that such a conclusion could be reached without a more significant treatment of the testimony received in response to the EA. 

 

In response to the EA, qualified experts submitted detailed comments questioning the methodology and substance of air quality studies included in the EA.  Those concerns are dismissed in a mere three (3) paragraphs by the FONSI.  Similarly, acknowledged impacts to traffic are dismissed in a mere five (5) paragraphs, despite the FONSI’s recognition that the proposal would likely be considered a “major traffic generator” by the Connecticut Department of Transportation.  The airport sits in a special flood hazard area which is projected to experience a 20-inch rise in sea level by 2050.  Total impervious surface at the airport will skyrocket with the installation of nearly 4,000 parking spaces.  However, the FONSI neatly disposes of these issues in just five (5) paragraphs and finds that ‘no significant impacts on natural and beneficial floodplain values are anticipated.’  The report is conclusory, superficial, and defies common sense.

 

I recognize that there are those who see the airport’s proposal as an economic driver for greater New Haven and for the State.  I appreciate the need to continue to grow our economy.  However, that growth cannot, should not, and will not come at the expense of the people of East Haven.  A “fair outcome” on Tweed means a fair outcome for all stakeholders and the current proposal falls well short of protecting and benefiting the Town of East Haven.

 

I am confident others will reach similar conclusions and trust that the Town of East Haven, its special legal counsel, Mayor Carfora, and other interested parties will weigh in further in forums that will shed better light on the hypocrisy and short-sightedness of these findings.

 

I have been in contact, today, with others in our legislative delegation along with East Haven Mayor Carfora, Chief Marcarelli, and local stakeholders.  I appreciate Mayor Carfora’s allocation of substantial assets, to-date, to respond to the EA and join him in acknowledging the need to evaluate the FONSI more carefully as we consider next steps.  Finally, I remain committed to standing with local leaders and with our residents to advocate vigorously for a commonsense outcome at Tweed Airport that, above all things, protects the quality of life of our residents.”

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