Minnesota land-use laws that AOPA and legislative allies worked to enact last year could be undone, putting airports served by airlines at risk for more encroachment and noise complaints. Legislation sponsored by Sens. Ann Rest and Mike Jungbauer and Rep. Mike Beard declared airports an essential public service, which made it more difficult to close or restrict airports. It also required municipalities to comply with the state's aviation master plan in order to receive funding. But Sen. Dan Larson's bill, Senate File 183, would weaken that law by giving more control back to municipalities - because he is trying to address noise complaints and other concerns at Minneapolis-St. Paul International/ Wold Chamberlain, which lies within his district. Larson's bill also would adopt a new noise standard from the World Health Organization. The problem is that airports can only receive federal funding for noise mitigation based on a national standard already in place by the FAA. "Trying to solve this particular concern through S.F. 183 casts far too broad a net," said Greg Pecoraro, AOPA vice president of regional affairs, "and would certainly have unintended consequences and impacts on community airports across the state."
February 2, 2007