MAC, Cities Agree on Process for Next Steps in Noise Mitigation Program

The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) and the Cities of Minneapolis, Eagan and Richfield - parties to a legal agreement that established the foundation of the MAC's current noise mitigation program - have agreed to a proposed amendment to the agreement they believe will provide a path forward for continued mitigation of homes impacted by aircraft noise from operations at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP).

At its May 20, 2013 meeting, the MAC's Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to approve an amendment to the October 19, 2007 Consent Decree (Agreement), which settled litigation over the expansion of the MSP noise mitigation program. The Cities of Minneapolis, Richfield and Eagan have also approved the amendment.

Under the proposed new program, eligibility would be determined based on actual noise contour maps (as opposed to a forecasted scenario). In the future, then, for a home to be considered eligible for noise mitigation it would need to meet the following criteria:

1. The home must be located within the actual 60+dB DNL, or higher, noise contour, and

2. The home must be located within a higher noise impact mitigation area for three consecutive years when compared to its status relative to the original Consent Decree, with the first of the three years beginning no later than 2020.

Eligible homes would be mitigated in the year following the year they become eligible. (For example, if a home is found to be within an eligible area in 2014, 2015 and 2016, based on these years actual noise contours, the home would be mitigated in 2017.) Homeowners who choose to participate in the program would release legal noise claims in exchange for mitigation. It should be noted that homes whose owners have previously declined participation in the mitigation program will remain ineligible for mitigation.

The proposed changes to the program's eligibility requirements must first be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) since the program is funded with airport revenues. 

Once the FAA authorizes use of airport funds, the parties will submit the amendment to the court for its approval. Only then can the modified program begin. 

For more information, contact the MAC at 612-726-8100.