We’re not giving up

Trenton Threatened Skies and its co-petitioners have petitioned the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit for a new hearing following the court’s January 2024 decision, where it found in favor of the FAA. TTS is continuing to fight for government accountability and for the protection of public health and the environment.

See press release and TTS statement below.

Local Citizens Not Giving Up … Advocacy Group Continues Legal Battle Against Planned Massive Expansion Of Trenton-Mercer Airport (TTN)


Trenton Threatened Skies (TTS) Has Petitioned the US Court of Appeals Third Circuit For A New Hearing To Be Held by the Full Court and/or Rehearing by the Original Panel

 

MERCER County NJ /BUCKS County PA — Trenton Threatened Skies (TTS) and its co-petitioners in Trenton Threatened Skies, Inc. et al v. FAA are continuing their legal challenge to the planned expansion of the Trenton-Mercer Airport.

On February 20, 2024, they petitioned the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit for a new hearing to be held by the full Court and/or a rehearing by the same panel of judges that issued its decision on January 4, 2024.

Residents of Bucks and Mercer Counties remain deeply concerned about the health and environmental impacts of the massive Airport expansion. This petition is the latest chapter in their vigorous opposition to the FAA’s characterization of the $200 million expansion project as a mere terminal replacement.

The new terminal will be five times larger with an increased capacity to service a growing number of flights through additional gates and aircraft parking positions. This greater capacity will inevitably result in an increase in aviation-related impacts on the environment and public health.

TTS challenged the FAA’s approval of the project in federal court in 2022, contending that a project of this scope warranted an Environmental Impact Statement to study the effects on the environment and public health.

On January 4, 2024, the Court found in favor of the FAA, holding there is no need to study the aviation-related impacts of the expansion. The Court deferred to the FAA’s assertion that this project would not induce an increase in flights and that only the temporary impacts from the construction phase had to be evaluated.

TTS and co-petitioners maintain their position that the terminal is an expansion that will pave the way for a significant increase in flight operations to the inevitable detriment of public health and the environment, particularly on downwind, environmental justice communities.

Once the new capacity is built, there is no way to limit the air traffic at the airport, no matter what harm it causes to the environment and public health.

TTS Statement

Trenton Threatened Skies (TTS) has issued the following statement in response to the recent decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit regarding the expansion of the Trenton-Mercer Airport:

Trenton Threatened Skies (TTS), and the many residents and businesses of Bucks and Mercer Counties who participated in the legal challenge to the expansion of the Trenton-Mercer Airport, are deeply disappointed in the decision issued on January 4 the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The Court found in favor of the FAA, holding that there is no need to study the impacts the expansion project will have on both the environment and the health of Bucks and Mercer residents.

TTS has never disputed the need to replace the aging terminal at the Airport. But we and the other petitioners in the case have vigorously opposed the FAA’s characterization of this $200 million expansion project as a mere terminal replacement. The new terminal will be four times larger with an increased capacity to service a growing number of flights through additional gates and aircraft parking positions. This greater capacity will inevitably result in an increase in aviation-related impacts on the environment and public health.

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires a rigorous study of potential environmental and health impacts when an airport adds flight capacity. Yet the Court found that such a study was not required to evaluate the aviation-related impacts of this larger terminal. It deferred to the FAA’s dubious assertion that this massive project would not induce an increase in flights and that only the temporary impacts from the construction phase had to be evaluated.

The Court accepted the FAA’s claim that the number of gates is not being increased; however, through years of public document requests and research, TTS uncovered clear evidence showing with this expansion, the number of gates increasing from two to four and the number of aircraft parking positions increasing from four to seven. In fact, on at least two separate occasions prior to this project, the FAA told the Airport that the NEPA-required rigorous environmental study would have to be conducted before the Airport could construct a four-gate terminal. Yet no study was ever done.

TTS is disheartened by the Court’s decision and we maintain our position, despite the Court’s ruling, that the terminal is an expansion that will pave the way for a significant increase in flight operations to the inevitable detriment of public health and the environment, particularly on downwind, environmental justice communities. We are currently weighing our legal options.

We’ve lost faith in the government processes and laws that were designed to protect the public, but have failed in this instance. We remain concerned about continued harm to the region, including non-permitted chemical waste disposal into local waterways and underreported PFAS spills at the Airport. We will continue to fight for accountability, transparency, the environment, and the protection of all affected residents.

— Trenton Threatened Skies, Board of Directors