AIRPORT NOISE LAW


Minnesota Residents Sue for Home Insulation Against Airport Noise


SEPTEMBER 7, 2005
MINNEAPOLIS

A group representing Minneapolis and Richfield residents has sued the Metropolitan Airports Commission, claiming that the MAC reneged on promises to provide sound insulation to homes experiencing airport noise levels from 60 to 64 decibels.

Northwest Airlines is also named in the breach of contract suit, filed this week in Hennepin County District Court. The suit, which seeks class-action status, contends that Northwest has kept certain passenger facility charges and other airline fees that it had said the MAC could use for insulating homes near Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

MAC spokesman Pat Hogan countered Tuesday that the homeowners weren't guaranteed full noise insulation and that the MAC has the most extensive airport noise abatement program in the country. He said that MSP is the only American airport to offer any noise insulation money to residents experiencing noise in the 60-to-64 decibel range, as measured under a formula used by federal authorities.

The suit seeks an upgraded package of noise insulation for at least 5,000 households in Richfield and Minneapolis, as well as damages of more than $50 million.

A similar suit was filed by the cities of Minneapolis, Richfield, and Eagan in April against the MAC seeking full noise proofing packages for residents, at a cost of about $45,000 for each house, in the 60 to 64 day-night decibel level areas.

From 1992 to 2004, the MAC and the federal government together spent $223 million for air conditioning and noise insulation for 7,690 homes, most of them in Minneapolis. It expects to complete full noise insulation packages for another 165 houses. The MAC is also spending $28 million to provide air conditioning for another 3,594 home in the 60-64 decibel range. Homeowners will contribute about 10 to 50 percent of the cost of air conditioning systems.

Source: Star Tribune