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10/26/2022 08:00 AM

Social and Environmental Injustice

The plans to massively expand Tweed New Haven Airport exemplify a disregard for human health and the environment. The surrounding neighborhoods in several towns are densely populated. Air pollution for residents living near the airport is a significant health hazard, and not just for those right next to the airport but also for those in the many surrounding towns. Premature mortality is increased within 12.5 miles of an airport. Branford Town Hall is four miles from Tweed and North Branford’s is approximately six miles. There are higher rates of asthma, other respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disease, low birth weight and prematurely born infants, and cancer.

Furthermore, airplane noise pollution causes stress; decreases cognitive performance; increases the incidence of hypertension, heart attacks and stroke; decreases children’s academic performance by impairing their cognitive skills and decreases their standardized academic test scores. With the extended runway like LaGuardia’s, there will be nothing to stop Tweed from flying large jets over us every 15 minutes.

Airplane deicing compounds entering the Sound are toxic to marine and shoreline animals; loss of vital wetlands will cause wildlife death and disrupt a major migratory bird pathway.

New Haven and Yale leaders and some of our politicians are putting economics and convenience above the urgent need to decrease greenhouse gases. Why push ahead with a soon-to-be outmoded transportation project that will irrevocably damage public health and the environment?

Finally, this planned expansion is an example of social and environmental injustice: decreasing the property values, the health and quality of life for those near the airport and damaging the ecosystem.

Shirley McCarthy