The Federal Aviation Administration’s Formal Review of the Airport’s Environmental Assessment
On December 22, 2023, Tweed-New Haven Airport (HVN) received the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) determination that the formal review of the airport’s Environmental Assessment (EA) is now complete, and the EA has been approved.
What does this mean?
The result of a formal evaluation conducted by the FAA was a “Finding of No Significant Impact” (FONSI), meaning that the expansion of the airport would not have a significant impact on the local environment and quality of life. The FAA’s review was undertaken in partnership with the US Army Corps of Engineers and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), among other federal and state partners.
This EA process began on November 18, 2021, and has included extensive research and information from a variety of sources including: scientific studies, community input, and collaboration with numerous local, state, and federal agencies.
The EA process included multiple public meetings and a public comment period, which allowed the public to learn more about, and provide input on, the proposed project.
Future Environmental Impact
The final EA makes clear that the planned project would reduce the airport’s future environmental impact. Important findings include:
- Noise: By extending the runway and relocating the terminal at HVN, there will be a fewer total number of necessary flights and aircraft ground noise will move further from residences. That means less overall noise for neighbors. HVN will also extend its ongoing Residential Sound Insulation Program to include additional homes that would otherwise be significantly impacted by aircraft noise.
- Air Quality: The air quality analysis found that by relocating the terminal and extending the runway HVN and its airline partners can reduce overall impact on air quality when compared to doing nothing. Potential air emissions from the construction, forecasted operations, and changes in vehicle trips associated with expansion are expected to be well below thresholds set by the EPA.
- Wetlands: The new terminal is proposed within the footprint of a closed runway and taxiway field. The impact on undisturbed wetlands has been intentionally minimized and expansion would include mitigation measures implemented to achieve the overall
policy goal of “no net loss”.
- Wildlife: Impacts to plant and wildlife life comply with local and federal regulations. The project site contains no critical habitats for threatened or endangered species as designated by the state or federal government.
As a result of the steps taken to ensure that there was no significant impact on the local environment, the expansion at HVN will provide:
- More destinations with affordable and convenient travel.
- Opportunities for more than 1,000 construction workers and small businesses, and spur economic development across southern Connecticut.
- More than $5 Million in community benefits to support noise mitigation, traffic improvements, and support for critical programs in the region.