Doing a Public Hearing Publically

SMAAC has been pushing the Metropolitan Airports Commission to investigate MSP noise and air pollution for several years.  In 2010, the World Health Organization warned airports that overflights inceased health risks. 

SMAAC has been pushing the Metropolitan Airports Commission to investigate MSP noise and air pollution for several years.  In 2010, the World Health Organization warned airports that overflights inceased health risks.  Last year a study was released noting concentrations of very fine particulates along LAX flight paths. The particles are unique by-products of jet engine operations and a source of serious respiratory disease. These comments did not result in a single question by Commissioners or staff and some documents submitted in evidence were not included in the public record of the 2014 Assessment of Environmental Effects.

The draft 2014 AOEE report was as prepared by MAC staff before the Hearing was convened or written comments were received.

THis year, the AOEE Hearing was scheduled for few minutes during a committee meeting in Lindbergh Terminal.  We see this as inappropriate under any circumstances, and exacerbated because MAC reneged on an agreement. In an attempt to counter the staff's lack of cooperatio, we wrote the following message to Commissioner Cramer who we assume would be presiding at the AOEE Hearing:

All summer, the South Metro Airport Action Council (SMAAC) has been engaged with MAC staff to correct the public record and draw attention to the absence of an assessment of atmospheric pollution (greenhouse gases (GHG) and sub-micron particulate emissions) in the 2014 AOEE Report.

As we testified, jet engines create these emissions,and emission volumes are increased per flight by lower-altitude overflights and accumulated from lower, slower operations at MSP since 2010. These effects are established by studies at Los Angeles International Airport and MSP has essentially the same fleet. We cited a 2014 study report, but the report was not noted in the public record.

[[http://www.scpr.org/news/2014/05/29/44433/air-pollution-from-lax-jets-worse-than-previously/]].

 

As you know, an Administrative Appeal regarding these matters for the 2014 AOEE Hearing Examiners' Report is on hold pending mutually advantageous changes for the 2015 Hearing. Mr. Hamiel was to schedule, we understood, a meeting to discuss SMAAC’s suggestions. In a conversation with Mr. Hamiel on 23 October, it was implied that A] SMAAC' s comments would be heard in full at the November 2 meeting (the format is a Power-Point Presentation to be included as a document in the public record); B] Any questions about the SMAAC testimony by the PDE members or staff would be recorded and answered by SMAAC before the comments period ended; and, C] Staff recommendations would not be published as Findings without a recorded vote of the named hearing officers and a certified public record as submitted to the EQB. [[Note: Mr. Anderson may disagree, but these points were confirmed by the Attorney-General in a letter to SMAAC finding that an administrative review by the EQB was required by Minnesota Administrative Rules. Mr. Anderson agreed, I think, that a qualitative assessment of off-site effects, such as particulate pollution or GHG emissions was required in the AOEE by Minnesota Law.]]

It was also our understanding that the hearing would be accessible to the public and not time-limited as a part of the regular PDE meeting schedule.

Therefore, we request that the scheduled AOEE Hearing be continued and the continuation held off-MSP at a public location or at least outside TSA security at the MAC Administrative offices as last year. Otherwise, the public's legitimate concerns about safety, health risks, global warming, and other aspects of increased low altitude overflights at MSP will not be acknowledged or lead to EAWs; neither will environmental impacts (effects) be properly reported, reduced, or mitigated per Minnesota and Federal Law.

Respectfully,

--

James R. Spensley, President, SMAAC


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