The plans to massively expand Tweed New Haven Airport demonstrate a disregard for human health and the adjacent ecosystem. The surrounding neighborhoods in several towns are highly populated; therefore, lives would be forever changed. There is ample scientific evidence that airplane noise pollution causes annoyance; disturbs sleep and increases use of psychotropic medications; impairs cognitive performance; increases the incidence of hypertension, myocardial infarction, and stroke; decreases academic performance of children by affecting their cognitive skills, such as reading and memory; and decreases standardized academic test scores.

Furthermore, the air pollution for residents living near the airport is significant, decreasing health due to a number of causes but primarily from respiratory and cardiovascular disease. Premature mortality is increased within 12.5 miles of an airport. 

Airplane deicing compounds entering the Sound are toxic to marine and shoreline animals; loss of vital wetlands and other habitats would cause wildlife death and disrupt a major migratory bird pathway.  Wildlife must be protected; in the last 50 years, the planet has lost 70 percent of its wildlife and North America has lost three billion birds. Insects are going extinct at eight times the high extinction rate of vertebrates.

Expanding this airport completely ignores our urgent need to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, not markedly increase them. New Haven and Yale leaders are putting economics and convenience above the urgent need to decrease greenhouse gases. France is considering banning private jets since aviation is one of the planet’s top carbon emitters. Private jets are estimated to cause five to 14 times as much pollution as commercial planes per passenger, and 50 times as much as trains. Electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft are already flying! UPS has committed to buying 10 electric aircraft from Burlington, Vermont-based Beta Technologies beginning in 2024, with an option to buy an additional 150 of the aircraft. There are more than 700 designs from nearly 350 companies that are trying to get into the electric vertical take-off business. Why push ahead with a soon-to-be outmoded transportation project that will irrevocably damage public health and the environment? Why take business from Bradley International Airport that has recently expanded?

Finally, this planned expansion is an obvious example of social and environmental injustice; decreasing the property values, the health and quality of life for those living near the airport and damaging their adjacent ecosystems. Please cancel this proposal.

Shirley McCarthy, MD, PhD, is a professor emeritus at the Yale School of Medicine.  Contact her at