Sierra Club asks for $20K fee waiver

2012-02-16T11:00:00Z Sierra Club asks for $20K fee waiverBy Jessie Higgins, The World Coos Bay World
February 16, 2012 11:00 am  • 

An environmental group has appealed to Coos County District Attorney R. Paul Frasier to waive about $20,000 in fees for records from the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay.

Citing the state's Public Records Act, the Sierra Club wants the DA to waive the fee, which is for 2,500 pages of information about proposed coal and liquefied natural gas development plans.

'The people of Oregon have a right to know the truth about a project that could contaminate waterways, endanger the local economy and threaten public health by opening Coos Bay to dirty fossil fuel exports," Laura Stevens, the Sierra Club's organizing representative in Oregon, said in a news release.

Under state law, public records fees may be waived if the public interest is being served, the group said.

But the port said a fee waiver for the Sierra Club's request is not appropriate.

'They sent us a very broad request that sought thousands of pages of documents, some protected under confidentiality agreements," said Elise Hamner, the port's communications manager.

In order to fulfill the record's request, port staff had to search out the documents, review them, then send them to a lawyer to ensure nothing confidential was being released.

'There is a legal process to go through that costs money," Hamner said. 'They want the taxpayers to pay. We don't think the taxpayers should pay."

The Sierra Club said the records request is necessary, as the port has not been transparent in planning the coal export projects.

The port rejects that assertion.

'We've been discussing this information for months in public meetings," Hamner said. She cited one proposed coal export project, code named Project Mainstay, about which the port has publicly discussed such pertinent issues as the acres involved in the facility and potential coal export tonnage.

'We've been pretty above board on facts that the public needs to know," she said.

Reporter Jessie Higgins can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 240, or jhiggins@theworldlink.com.

Copyright 2015 Coos Bay World. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(12) Comments

  1. Kittycan
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    Kittycan - February 20, 2012 6:25 pm
    the Sierra Club's CEO makes nearly a quarter million/year. If they have so much money to pay their fat cats, they can well afford the 20k. check out the link http://www.bbb.org/charity-reviews/national/sierra-club-in-san-francisco-ca-1330
  2. deceptions
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    deceptions - February 20, 2012 11:35 am
    now I understand why nobody takes the SC seriously anymore... well nobody outside their wacko "green" ideology. How is "green" not a scam again?

    Maybe common sense can shed some light
  3. David Bigelow
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    David Bigelow - February 16, 2012 10:46 pm
    There is enough regulation in place already. The SC has no business posturing as representing the public without an elected office.
  4. realitybites
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    realitybites - February 16, 2012 6:36 pm
    The Sierra Club harpy says it's "a project that could contaminate waterways, endanger the local economy and threaten public health by opening Coos Bay to dirty fossil fuel exports."
    Ridiculous. It's already a port. How does more economic activity "endanger the local economy?"
    Sierra Club already got our money by piling onto a lawsuit over the county pipeline that other plaintiffs were going to settle. Now we have a chance to get our money back. Don't give an inch.
  5. bes
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    bes - February 16, 2012 5:50 pm
    PUBLIC INFORMATION SHOULD BE FREE..PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW THE FACTS, THANK YOU SIERRA CLUB FOR TAKING ON THE UGLY JOB OF KEEPING OUR AREA ENVIRONMENTALLY SAFE AND POTENTIALLY CLEAN FOR THE FUTURE
  6. m00npenny
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    m00npenny - February 16, 2012 5:14 pm
    Nope. If you want the documents, then you need to pay for them just like the rest of us. No fee waiver. Our county can certainly use the money.
  7. Sherman
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    Sherman - February 16, 2012 4:09 pm
    So the Sierra Club wants the taxpayers to fund their documents request so that they can put some more of us on the unemployment line. It takes a lot of someone's time to locate the documents they're requesting, copy the documents, run each of them by Legal, etc., etc. Most of the Sierra Club's expenses are being funded by the taxpayers as it is - and they want more? Pleeeease....go away.
  8. Kay
    Report Abuse
    Kay - February 16, 2012 1:15 pm
    hiluix? Has the Sierra club taken $300,000,000.00 out of the tax base as has The Port of Coos Bay?
    Does that twist your panties nearly as much?
    You defenders of (in my opinion) an organization that lies and makes promises that have no basis in reality to the poor working stiffs of this county as they suck huge amounts of cold hard cash down their Port Hole decade after decade?
    It's ALWAYS "just another ten million" or another five years, and it will all be worth "it".
    We need "it" for our sch
  9. Marginbuilder
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    Marginbuilder - February 16, 2012 12:53 pm
    BillyE said: "C'mon seriously? $20K for 2500 pages? Just the amount would imply you're trying to cover something up or at least keep it away from public scrutiny. You are a public entity so open them up for review."

    I charge $100 for my staff to review briefs. That combined with the labor it would take to find the documents makes me think that $20K for 2500 pages is a pretty good deal. Simply put, someone should pay for the costs, especially when it is just brinksmanship to create unrest.
  10. Marginbuilder
    Report Abuse
    Marginbuilder - February 16, 2012 12:50 pm
    'The people of Oregon have a right to know the truth about a project that could contaminate waterways, endanger the local economy and threaten public health by opening Coos Bay to dirty fossil fuel exports,"

    I say the people of Oregon have a right to live our lives, and use our natural resources without interference from those outside of our area once we have met recognized requirements as set by our local and state governments. Stop telling us what we can & can't do, when you don't live here.
  11. BillyE
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    BillyE - February 16, 2012 12:25 pm
    C'mon seriously? $20K for 2500 pages? Just the amount would imply you're trying to cover something up or at least keep it away from public scrutiny. You are a public entity so open them up for review.

    ps I am not a supporter of the Sierra Club either. You SC folks lost your way a long time ago too.
  12. hiluix
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    hiluix - February 16, 2012 11:14 am
    " Sierra Club Sucks "
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