South Metro Airport Action Council
** S M A A C **

Public Announcement/Press Release Dateline: 8 September 2004 Minneapolis, MN

Neighbors and SMAAC Make Noise at MAC Hearing

After first congratulating Commissioners for actually attending the public meeting – 12 of 14 were present – SMAAC President Jim Spensley blasted them for deciding key provisions in the 2,000 page document without public input, and for not asking or answering questions in this one.

Spensley told the large assembly “If past performance is our guide, the (Part 150 Update) will be adopted whatever public comments are received. The contour map (was already) used for other actions, whatever wrong assumptions are proven or input errors discovered. We can only hope FAA or other authorities intervene.

SMAAC wrote the Commission May 22, 2003 seeking an opportunity to testify, or at least hear airport neighbors’ issues acknowledged and discussed by NOC, by P&E, or the full Commission in public before a vote.

Mayor R.T. Rybak, Councilmembers Benson and Colvin-Roy, and Representative Frank Hornstein focused on the reduction of benefits, proposed by MAC Chair Tigwell and adopted as an amendment to MAC’s 2004 to 2009 capital budget, for the “2007 64-60 DNL areas.”

Spensley said that the draft 2007 contour map reduced those eligible, but full sound insulation was intended by the 1996 MSP expansion law by thousands of structures in both Part 150 65+ DNL areas and 64-60 areas.

“The 1996 Legislative negotiators didn’t give a fig about the Federal compatible-use standard. They had before them the contour maps for 1995, 2000, and 2005 (and those were based on low-ball projections). The deal was full insulation or removal of 17,000 structures projected in unmitigated 69-65 DNL areas and all structures in the unmitigated 2005 64-60 DNL areas.
He said the Commissioners “Spurred by airline lobbyists, chose 2002 as the base year for this Update, in effect crediting the tragic events of September 11, 2001 as a noise-reduction measure.”

The prior update, submitted in late 1999, was still under review by FAA in September 2001, and use of the parallel runways in 2000 and 2001 were known to exceed MAC’s projections by half (150%) and overall use projections as well (125% approximately).

SMAAC reported that unmitigated noise over 65 DNL frequently and continually occurred between 1996 and 2002. Even before the prior update was withdrawn, residents constantly petitioned for relief from excessive noise due to MSP expansion.
The 1996 actual-use map revealed gross under- estimations of noise because actual use of MSP differed drastically from that modeled.

Spensley’s remark that “MAC, through the draft 2007 contour map, is telling us that airport noise in 2002 was less than it was in 1996 and greater than it will be in 2007. Be sure to let MAC know if you disagree.” was met with sustained applause from the audience.

Last year, SMAAC complained that the 2007 model was improper. MAC limited its forecast to national aviation industry data and anonymous but self-serving airline projections of MSP use and passenger demand. Spensley said tables in the update show 25,515 structures in the 64-60 DNL in the 2002 map. He remarked “Only about 215 (2.5% of single-family residences in the new 2007 map) need treatment according to MAC ‘for compatible use,’ however, about 9,000 of these structures were in 1996 unmitigated 69-65 areas.”

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Many citizens applauded Spensley’s remark about the homes left out of the first phase but told they could expect treatment in the second phase – the withdrawn 2001 update reaching the 60 DNL. Several people testified about living “just across the street” or in “left-out pockets.” A group living on between Portland and Chicago east of Pearl Park presented a petition with 83 signatures demanding the treatment MAC had told them, in 1999, to expect once the update was approved by FAA and funds were allocated.

Spensley praised Representative Wagenius and Senator Ranum for calling attention to economic provisions in the 1996 Minnesota law authorizing MSP Expansion. They said that MAC allowed Northwest Airlines to over-expand their hub, resulting in high fares here and better service in competing cities for international trade.

Minnesota Law 1996 directed MSP expansion under stringent conditions:
1. Sufficient local passenger capacity to meet projected growth and economical demand through 2020 and during the intervening years, also increasing airline competition.
2. Fully mitigate any unavoidable environmental impacts.
3. Extend the Sound Insulation Program [“SIP”] for noise mitigation during and after expansion out to the 60 DNL.

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