Citizen's groups around airports are "getting the run-around." as a group in Oregon complained,
"Valid community concerns regarding aviation noise and pollution (are) routinely deflected, ignored and minimized (by airport authorities) in an effort to promote aviation interests over the greater good."
As SMAAC has been doing for years, Oregon Aviation Watch strongly urges negatively impacted residents to hold their (elected officials) responsible for abiding rather than reducing overflight noise and pollution.
It is important but tediously slow to deal with airport/overflight noise. Important because noise complaints periodically cresendo to a politically significant level: that opens a door to examine all the advantages and disadvantages of the oveflights that make the noise. Tediously slow because the aviation industry leaders are resourceful, politically connected, and forward-thinking about profits. Profits are assured if government assumes liability and funds air traffic control, if government inspectors and auditors are scarce by lack of funding, if government subsidizes NextGen avionics, and if "fortress hubs" that reduce competition are the first but most costly to develop and operate.Read more
In February, SMAAC made an Administrative Appeal of the MSP 2014 Annual Assessment of Environmental Effects (AOEE). The EQB staff did not acknowledge the Appeal. An inquiry in May revealed that the EQB staff opinion was that the Appeal was misdirected.
Last month the Minnesota Attorney General wrote SMAAC that the Administrative Appeal was properly addressed to the EQB. SMAAC attempted to contact the EQB by telephone and by email. Notwithstanding the AG opinion, an EQB staffer wrote SMAAC this week suggesting that we take both our (procedural) appeal and the substance of our contention that the procedural error, if any, had a material effect on the AOEE findings back to the MAC.
SMAAC responded that we had been seeking a discussion of noise and air pollution increases from flight operational changes, citing correspondence from FAA the changes in overflight altitude and a definitive (we thought) scientific study connecting specific submicron particulates pollution to low-flying jet aircraft. The procedural errors were, we alleged, that the above documents were not included in the Hearing Record, the absence of public deliberation (or identification of the deliberators) responsible for the Finding of No Significant Impact.
Too many people seem to think the Federal Aviation Admistration (FAA) and the airlines are in charge of MSP, but they still complain about oveflight noise to the Meropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) or the Noise Oversight Committee (NOC). Complaining about noise is OK, but a small step that so far has never reduced neighborhood noise a decibel. Is the noise hotline also the air pollution hot line? Is it the place where printers or sound studios or electonic manufacturers complain about low flights (vibrations) spoiling a document, a recording or a batch of tiny microchips?
Has the City of Minneapolis complained at NOC about overflights interfering with the City's Wide-Area Wi-Fi system? Have viewers or advertisers called the hotline about flights 'pixilating' broadcast digital TV? Just asking.
Why isn't there an overflight hot line? There is a security hot line and an emergency hotline. And a number to call if you are treated poorly by a MAC employee (well, maybe not that).
The Park Ridge IL citizens' group CAPP and the Chicago Tribune columnist and reporter Jon Hilkevitch asked SMAAC to comment following a news story last week. The City of Chicago operates O'Hare; the Chicago Airspace Plan is enlarging the O'Hare footprint, adding gates and terminal space. and removing two parallel runways, replacing them with two new parallel runways with the same headings but further from other runways. CAPP asked the NTSB if the runway re-locations solved the converging runway use problem the NTSB warned about in 2013.
FAA is holding hearings on the neighborhood impacts of the proposed multi-billion dollar hub expansion. With the White House pushing for lower greenhouse gas emissions, FAA will also get comments on air pollution and safety.Read more
An Update on Airport Safety and Noise
A Nationwide Problem. The ongoing airport noise and pollution issue is now centered on FAA flight route and runway use changes.
This is a copy of official comments made from SMAAC to Metropolitan Airports Commission regarding the MSP 2015 AOEE
SMAAC last petitioned the Commission to review MSP safety and site limitations October 29, 2014. Various changes in flight routes increased noise and pollution near MSP. The changes were initially made by FAA to “reduce air crossings” shortly after the near-mid-air collision in September 2010. However, further changes — departure runway changes, instrumented routes, and more, rather than less, flights scheduled at or very near absolute minimum intervals — increased over-flight noise exposure and concentrated emissions of pollutants.Read more
SMAAC presented its position: operational changes that increase noise and pollution must be reviewed and alternatives evaluated that provide sufficient safe capacity and reduce noise and pollution. The presentation reiterated SMAAC's comments on the NTSB warnings about safety and the World Health Organization warnings about the inadequacy of modeling projected operations as a predictor of future health and environmental impacts.
The draft AOEE is absent any reference to operational alternatives, legal capacity, or planned deployment dates for Next Gen and PBN/RNAV. The presentation and all comments received in writing, the Chair said, ".. will be reviewed by staff and the staff recommendations considered for adopting the 2014 Assessment of Environmental Impacts at the December Commission meeting."Read more
SMAAC asked the Commission to review MSP safety and site limitations earlier this year, particularly (FAA) safety risk management status. Since 2011, hourly use of MSP at peak hours has been modified several times by the MSP FAA Air Traffic Control Tower, supposedly for safety, resulting in increased MSP capital and operating costs.
These changes undoubtedly increased noise and pollution near MSP.Read more