Maps, books, binders and CDs with old information about the Jordan Cove LNG and Pacific Connector Pipeline had been available for residents to review at libraries along the project’s proposed route. For the last few months, the shelves that had held these materials have been temporarily empty.
Jordan Cove LNG is currently working toward submitting an updated application for the project, which would create a 235-mile pipeline through Klamath, Jackson, Douglas and Coos counties to reach a liquefied natural gas terminal in Coos Bay. The application is expected to be sent to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission around August.
Michael Hinrichs, Jordan Cove spokesman, said to the best of his knowledge Jordan Cove submitted all the documents and maps to the libraries for public access, and only removed the out-of-date documents the company owned.
However, Paul Addis, a reference librarian with the Coos Bay Public Library, said a female Jordan Cove representative took materials that didn’t belong to the company, as the Ashland Daily Tidings reported June 23.
Addis said when she came by to remove the documents, he told her most of them weren’t submitted by Jordan Cove, and he asked her to make an appointment to go through them together. But according to Addis, company staff members returned when he was absent and took all the materials.
“All this we took out is old, outdated information that could be misleading to the public if they were going to check on the project, or it doesn’t conform to what we’re applying for this time around,” Hinrichs said. “There were some documents that even dated back to when they were for an import terminal, so they were very outdated by more than a decade.”
Sami Pierson, director of the Coos Bay Public Library, said there is no big conspiracy and nothing out of the norm.
She said this happened six months ago, and Jordan Cove did not take all of its materials but left the final impact statement and maps from 2009.
“These are considered government documents that have expirations on them, and we cannot keep everything, we don’t have the space for everything,” Pierson said. “When a final draft comes out, not just for this project but for anything, as things expire we do have the agency come get them or we dispose of them.”
Harold Hayes, Douglas County Library director, said while he’s not a proponent or detractor of the project, he doesn’t believe Jordan Cove was trying to do anything subversive or behind the scenes when its representatives removed the books and binders.
“Because they’re putting forth a new proposal they didn’t want the old stuff mixed up with the new stuff. They were able to get a hold of us and it was not nefarious,” Hayes said. “Because they will be providing the new proposal and it will look so much like the old, the fear was people would be reviewing the old materials and get confused.”
According to Hayes, the company representatives removed the books months ago and only took materials Jordan Cove had created and provided for the public regarding the old proposal. Hayes expects the company to replace them with new materials once it submits the new application.
But while the library in Roseburg is still in transition mode following the closure of the Douglas County Library System, Hayes said he doesn’t know how Douglas County residents will have access to the books anyway.
“It’s kind of ironic that information that should be available to voters will not be because the county decided to close the library system and residents decided not to vote for a library system,” Hayes said.
The Library Task Force is currently trying to transfer the library to the city of Roseburg and set up a nonprofit hub to run operations. But Hayes said the question of the hub opening is an “if,” not “when,” and it could be months or years down the road.
Hayes’ last day of work is this Friday.
“This is one example of the reason you have a public library, for public information on an issue people will either be voting on, or be available to contact elected representatives regarding this matter, or both,” Hayes said. “A public library is there as part of the democratic process with information available, related to political issues.
“The library in Douglas County no longer exists so that avenue for information is now unavailable, so we’re talking about the impact on the democratic process here in this case.”
The upcoming application to FERC will be for a whole new project, according to Hinrichs, and the company will fill the empty shelves with new, updated information regarding the current proposal.
“If people want information from the old proposal they can go ahead and contact us, or they might be able to contact FERC,” Hinrichs said. “But as far as the public record goes, this is the current proposal and this is what people should be focused on.”