History of SMAAC

1964 South Minneapolis Airport Action Council formed.                         1970 SMAAC sued the MAC on three complaints

1976  SMAAC re-organized as South Metro Airport Action Council          1978 SMAAC quarterly Newsletters circulation reached 1,000 homes.       

SMAAC Members served on the MSP Airport Sound Abatement Committee and the Metropolitan Airports Commission and the MN Legislature, 

In 1996, SMAAC joined the Minnesota Public Lobby and the Metropolitan Council in opposing a bill pushed by Northwest Airlines to ignore the findings of the Dual-Track Stuies comparing the costs and benefits of expanding MSP (on a small urban site with increased but limited capacity) or building a new airport just beyond the edge of the Metro area (20-times more acreage able to support 6 runways used 4 at a time). The bill passed. Environmental arguments immediately were raised to limit overfights operations by holding the airport sponsor to the 2020 targets of the aborted study and minimize overflight noise exposure, air pollution, safety risks and construction costs accordingly.

The expansion involved various construction projects modifying drainage, highways, and land use, --law required an extensive EIS.  That document was approved with over 50 comments unanswered, which the airport commission was to coordinate with the Minnesota Enviromental Quaity Board, the Met Council, and numerous local governments. SMAAC became the watchdog. 

9/11 happened.  Rules changed, MSP use dropped 20%. The airport authority failed to renew the Part 150 Noise Compatibility Plan as planned. The new runway was delayed 18 months.  Operations reahed 530,000 the next year (2005). MAC "withdrew" its sound insulation program. SMAAC supported an effort through MAC committees to restore the Extended SIP (ESIP) that failed. SMAAC encouraged the City and recruited citizens in Minneapolis and Richfield to start a class action.

In 2005, a serious accident occurred at MSP. A few days later, Sen. Dayton spoke at a SMAAC Forum in strong language demanding that MAC keep its promise to extend the Sound Insulation Program (SIP). In thanking SMAAC for holding the Forum, Dayton asked that SMAAC monitor the NTSB investigation of the accident (a collision of two NWA planes at an MSP gate). Shortly afterward, SMAAC revised its mission to include aviation and airport safety, cost of capacity, environmental protections. and air service planning. 

The MAC was sued, and settled in 2007. FAA allowed airport revenues for under 65 DNL exposures, supporting the settlement voluntarily.  

SMAAC pursued the NTSB investigation and established sources at MSP (unions, pilots, even MAC staff) and in Washington. With the help of Representative Oberstar, working 3 times to re-instate a Chief Investigator at NTSB, an unusually detailed report included as contributing factors misconduct by NWA employees, MSP emergency policy, and inadequate ground traffic procedures. This made SMAAC unpopular with MAC staff, but gained friends at FAA, NTSB, DOT/IG and EPA nutured by Rep. Oberstar, Rep. Ellison, Rep, McCollum, and Rep. Nolan.

 In 2010, during the process of updating the MSP Long-Term Comprehensive Plan, a near-mid-air-collision nea MSP caused the FAA air trafic control Tower to radically change runway use and procedures. Errors (maybe) in modeling noise-exposure contours led to a disputed Finding Of No Significant Impacts due to the changes. SMAAC testified at the Met Council public hearing, and the hearing recommendation was to amend or disapprove the MSP LTCP.  Before the Met Council accepted the findings, four issues were defined that if accepted as conditions by MAC would allow approval. But the MAC noise and enironmental FONSIs were not revised, the new departure routes were held to be "safe" by the ATCT and temporary until final procedures were reduced.

In December 2010 SMAAC held a Forum featuring Mr. Carl Rydeen, the ATC Tower Manager, who explained the safety issues being resolved by turning R30 Departures north soon after lift-off. He said to reduce noise impacts the turns would be rotated from North to NNW, to WNW to W but would still be loud due to reduced climb rates. Despite steeply increasing total noise and noise per flight, less frequent R30 departures per day per route would reduce the number of blocks eligible for ESIP treatment.  Health risks associated with GHG and particulates pollution and global warming were ignored by the MAC.  To Be Continued


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