Staff from MSP airport's environmental team asked MSP FairSkies Coalition to present some of our requests to the airport's Noise Oversight Committee (NOC) on September 20th. My fellow Co-Founder Steve Kittleson and I addressed the NOC regarding our proposal for "Less Noise, No Surprises" with respect to aircraft noise. Here we lay out a path to get there, including:
- Aligning around the nature of the problem
- How to use new and existing data to create a more transparent fact base for better decision-making on noise in general, and with respect to any proposed changes the FAA has in store for MSP
- Establishing a firm goal for noise reduction (we propose a 50% reduction by 2025)
- Enhancing the NOC, with the addition of citizen (non-elected) representatives to truly bring the "Voice of Citizen" to the decision making process. We also suggest that the NOC's mission and name should change from "Noise OVERSIGHT Committee" to "Noise REDUCTION Committee".
We conclude the presentation with a very specific set of decisions for the NOC on what they can do to inform the community and align the stakeholders around the goal of reducing aircraft noise from MSP airport.
You can't see the (4-part) screen that well, but you should be able to hear the presentation, and the back and forth on questions. You can download the PDF of the presentation and follow along here:
"That helps us all get to data-driven decisions based on citizen expectations. Which I think should be a common goal of everyone on the room."
Afterwards we heard from MAC staff about their interpretation of the recent DC Court of Appeals decision striking down FAA actions in Phoenix (panic alert in DC). You can read my (non-legal) interpretation of that decision here.
MAC staff also told the room that the FAA is finally preparing to announce how it might change the metrics and/or threshold for the significant impact of noise. Staff expects that to happen by the end of the year, though we'll see how that plays out. I expect the timing of that announcement to affect the response we get from the NOC.
Thanks to Chad Leqve and Dana Nelson of the MAC, and to Connie Carrino of our team for making this happen.
A reminder on why you can never sleep on the Met Council's efforts to undermine democracy.
Met Council Chair Adam Duininck declared in July 2015 (PDF) that "The Metropolitan Council will not commit the 10% state share for the [Southwest Light Rail Transit] project without support from the Legislature." (See screenshot below.) In other words, he agrees the state needs to authorize paying for the state portion of the transit project.
Yet now Duininck seems to be threatening to renege on that commitment, stating "we are talking with our project partners, including the cities, CTIB and Hennepin County, on any possible ways to fill the remaining gap [to fund SWLRT]."
Which is it, Adam? Do you and the Governor intend to abide by basic principles of democracy in this country, or do you intend to try a bogus end-around on the process?
The July 2015 exchange points to one way the Met Council might try to do this. In essence, the Council would auction off the Motor Vehicle Sales Tax money it receives, bundle up that cash and use it to pay for its pet project, all without any approval from anyone. Specifically, Duininck and gang would have the Met Council issue "Certificates of Participation" as a way to raise the cash that the Council can then use however it wants - in this case to pay for the state's part of Southwest Light Rail.
It seems almost certain that this type of bogus scheme is being conjured up by the Met Council and Governor Dayton as part of negotiations for a special session that would ram through funding for the controversial SWLRT.
Are we going to let the Met Council - 100% appointed by Governor Dayton - go nuclear and drop this Adam Bomb on the democratic process?
Let your legislators and Governor Dayton know that this will not stand, and that this is just one more indication as to why the Met Council needs fundamental reform on all levels. And what we definitely do NOT need is to give unelected, scheming officials another $280M a year in tax funds to use however they would like.
Tonight was the 3rd Annual Edina Aviation Impact Forum, pulled together by Connie Carrino on the MSP FairSkies team. We had a great turnout from citizens, politicians and staff from the airport authority. Our presentation from tonight is below, and you can watch the video here.
Sure, e-books have a place in the world. I just prefer real ones, in order to make the job a bit harder for any real life Winston Smith who might be out there.