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RESOLUTION: MAC Appointments

As initiated at the Annual Meeting, May 19. 2005, and released by the Board of Directors July 9, 2005.

Action: The South Metro Airport Action Council (SMAAC) calls for Governor Pawlenty to deny or renounce any understandings on the part of his appointees to the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) that requests by Northwest Airlines (NWA) are to be favorably considered because of NWA’s economic importance or financial condition.

Situation Summary:
The practical effect of the Governor, the MAC appointing authority, even having a stated policy favoring NWA, much more so if this policy is discussed with candidates for appointment to the MAC, is to stifle criticism and unduly influence proceedings and decisions of the Commission. Respectfully, then, we ask the Governor to publically affirm the independence of Commissioners in the performance of their duties, in case of any misunderstanding or misperception.

Several MAC Commissioners were not re-appointed while other incumbents were re-appointed by Governor Pawlenty. These appointments correlate with votes or statements, respectively, differing or agreeing with the stated views of NWA. Chair Tigwell met with NWA’s Chairman Anderson (not long after his meeting with the Governor), and cited Anderson’s approval of her initiative reducing noise mitigation funding, suggesting that her purpose was to signal airport Commissioners, those with terms ending soon, that their votes would be noted in St. Paul.

The MAC staff relies on the advice of aviation tenants, aviation industry consultants, and self-interested contractors. Lobbyists work effectively behind the scenes. Policies of the MAC, good or bad, are usually not developed, proposed, deliberated, or decided openly. Public involvement in MAC business has been reduced in many ways since 1996, leading to a lack of confidence in the MAC by air travelers and by citizens in the surrounding neighborhoods and cities.

Regardless of political influence, of investments made or promised in Minnesota by NWA, of government loans and subsidies to NWA, or of State policies and law promoting expansion at MSP, it is the solemnly sworn duty of the Commissioners to assure MSP is safe, environmentally responsible, and financially sound.

The Minnesota law (1996) authorizing MSP expansion further requires the MAC to limit connecting passenger capacity to assure sufficient local passenger capacity for State economic needs, to attract airline competition and promote Minnesota-based aviation enterprises, and to issue bonds and assume public debt for MSP expansion not to exceed amounts represented to the Legislature. State and Federal law require the MAC to comply with all provisions of the FEIS/ROD approved in1998. NWA requests contrary to these requirements should be sternly refused.As initiated at the Annual Meeting, May 19. 2005, and released by the Board of Directors July 9, 2005.

 

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