Minnesota City Sues Airport Commission Over
Shifting Jet Noise to Their Community

JUNE 11, 1998

The Star Tribune reports that the city of Richfield, Minnesota is suing the Metropolitan Airports Commission in the U.S. Court of Appeals for shifting jet noise from the Minneapolis - St. Paul International Airport to their community. City officials are suing to stop the daily use of the airport's crosswind runway that has shifted flights away from south Minneapolis and sent them over Richfield and Bloomington instead. The court case is expected to last at least two months, the article says.

According to the article, in 1996 the crosswind runway was lengthened from 8,250 to 11,100 feet so that heavily loaded flights could take off. The Federal Aviation Administration has estimated that the runway could be used to handle 17 percent of daily departures. This would reduce the jet noise impact for 1,000 homes on the northwest side of the airport, the article says, but would put 3,000 homes southwest of the airport into a higher noise-impact area.

The article reports that Steven Pflaum, an attorney for Richfield, said using the crosswind runway in that way would result in the need for $30 million of home soundproofing on the southwest side of the airport. That money would be better spent on homes to the northwest, he said, where soundproofing is already underway.

But Tom Anderson, an attorney for the Metropolitan Airports Commission, said most soundproofing money still would be spend on homes on the northwest side. Anderson added that the crosswind runway was used for 40 percent of airport traffic in the 1970s, and the airport wants to move back toward that use in order to more equitably distribute jet noise over surrounding communities.