Mayor Rybak Criticizes Airport Bail-Out Agreement
Cites Irony of Offer Following Court Order on City’s Noise Pollution Lawsuit
Feb. 8, 2007 (MINNEAPOLIS) -- Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak today harshly criticized the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) for offering a $239 million bail-out to Northwest Airlines when the MAC should be protecting homeowners harmed by airport noise pollution.
"The MAC’s action, which may be illegal, essentially takes money promised to average citizens and gives it instead to Northwest Airlines (NWA)," Mayor Rybak said. "I want NWA to succeed, but the financial future of NWA should not come at the expense of the well-being and financial future of thousands of homeowners who were promised protection from airport noise pollution. We will continue to fight the MAC’s arrogant disregard for Minnesota residents in court and at the Legislature."
"It is ironic that MAC would be at this point now," Mayor Rybak added. "Only two weeks ago Judge Aldrich supported the City of Minneapolis’ efforts to force the MAC to follow through on noise protection commitments it made prior to the airport expansion. MAC should not provide a bail-out to Northwest Airlines that could limit their ability to deliver noise relief as the Judge’s order called for."
Judge Aldrich’s order involved summary judgment motions in the case filed by the Cities of Minneapolis, Richfield and Eagan (Minneapolis, et al v. MAC), as well as the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, which requires the MAC to comply with the state Environmental Rights Act and make good on its commitment to provide the full noise mitigation package to homes within the airport’s 60 – 64 DNL (day/night noise level).
Judge Aldrich ruled solidly in favor of the Cities’ position that noise mitigation commitments made by the MAC were referenced in multiple documents filed between 1996 and 2001, during the public approval process for construction of Runway 17/35, and could not be disregarded.
"In the face of Judge Aldrich’s ruling, MAC should take every step to preserve its ability to comply with any such judgment. To do otherwise would not only fly directly in the face of the ruling, but would also fail to balance the needs of these homeowners and MAC’s commitment to them, with the need to have a strong international airport here," Mayor Rybak said in a letter to the MAC.
"When the airport was expanded, the MAC promised to protect people against airport noise pollution and they need to be held accountable," Mayor Rybak said.
Published Feb. 8, 2007