(Updated, 10:20 a.m.) The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission turned out to be a no-show at its own public hearing on a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal at Coos Bay.

A series of travel delays prevented Lonnie Lister, branch chief in FERC’s Office of Energy Projects, from getting to the meeting on time, he said this morning.

“Believe me, I much would’ve preferred to be at the meeting than where I was,” Lister said.

Lister estimated he’d spent 22 to 23 hours trying to get from his home in Washington, D.C., to North Bend on Monday. Mechancial problems delayed his plane in Washington, causing him to miss his connection in San Francisco. He didn’t arrive on the Oregon Coast until 1:30 a.m., he said.

Lister confirmed he would be at the FERC meeting scheduled for 6:30 tonight at the Red Lion Hotel in Medford to take the public’s comments on the proposed gas line, which if approved will run 230 miles from the terminal in Coos Bay through the Upper Rogue region to Malin in southern Klamath County.

The absence of federal officials in Coos Bay did not prevent a debate about the environmental impact statement for the Jordan Cove Energy Project and a pipeline.

Event organizers came under attack at the start of the meeting when the audience learned no FERC representatives would be present.

"Reschedule! Reschedule!" shouted dozens of people seated near the front of the North Bend Community Center, according to a story in today's Coos Bay World.

John Scott, a project manager with Tetra Tech, a firm that helped prepare the environmental analysis, said medical issues and travel snafus prevented anyone from the federal agency getting to North Bend. He facilitated the meeting in their stead.

"Please be reassured that your comments tonight will be on the public record just as if the meeting had a FERC member here," Scott said.

Opponents raised familiar issues, and some new ones. They were concerned about safety and taking property through eminent domain, or failure to consider alternatives.

Most at the hearing were opposed, but supporters' comments were added to the public record.

Beverly Segner criticized the agency for failing to show up. She said the hearings are the only opportunity to raise issues, "and FERC's not even here."

— Staff and wire reports