03/23/2013 Federal Budget vote

Following a marathon session yesterday, the US Senate passed on a 50-49 vote, a Federal budget that

  • revised the budget for 2013; and,
  • established budget levels for federal spending through 2023.

More than 400 amendments were filed (formally submitted), and of that, about one in five (around 80 – don’t have exact number) were actually debated, considered and then subject to a voice or recorded vote.  The  Senate adjourned at 5:23 am (Eastern time).

One of those 400 amendments — Senators Vitter (R-LA) and Feinstein (D-CA) co-sponsored a bi-partisan amendment to extend the DBOC lease for 10 years (consistent with the previously enacted statutory authority in 2009).  Along with more than 300 other amendments, this amendment, in the rush and crush to complete action on the budget, did not get considered.

Like Senator Feinstein, NPS false science and the Interior Department’s failed (corrupt) IG investigations compelled Senator Vitter’s initial involvement in Drakes Estero issues in 2011.  Senator Vitter also represents one of the largest shellfish growing states and regions (Gulf Coast).

The Vitter-Feinstein effort signals a new bi-partisan effort to correct Secretary Salazar’s agenda-driven decision to shut down the nearly 100-year old iconic oyster farm in Drakes Estero.   Both Senators, working together, will have other opportunities to correct this injustice.

Late yesterday afternoon, Cause of Action issued the following statement:

Today, Senators David Vitter (R-LA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) co-sponsored an amendment to the Senate Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2014, which, if passed, would allow Drakes Bay Oyster Company to remain open for 10 more years. The amendment would “establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to reinstate the reservation of use and occupancy and special use permits to conduct certain commercial operations.” 

Dan Epstein, Cause of Action’s executive director commented on the proposal:

“Government accountability is not a partisan issue—neither is saving jobs.  This amendment would save 30 jobs at Drakes Bay Oyster Company and 40 percent of California’s oyster market.  It would also send the message to the Department of Interior that transparency and scientific integrity cannot be casually dismissed for political purposes.”

Cause of Action, Briscoe Ivester & Bazel LLP, Stoel Rives LLP, and SSL Law represent Drakes Bay Oyster Company in their current federal lawsuit against the Department of the Interior, National Park Service and Secretary Ken Salazar.

 

     

SF Chronicle

The amendment, by Sen. David Vitter, R-Louisiana, and Feinstein, D-Calif., was added to the Senate Concurrent Resolution for the 2014 federal budget. It would “establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to reinstate the reservation of use and occupancy and special use permits to conduct certain commercial operations.”

Feinstein, who has accused the National Park Service of launching an unfair, scientifically flawed campaign against the oyster farm, also sponsored legislation in 2009 authorizing a lease extension, which Salazar eventually chose not to do. That decision prompted the company to sue.

“This amendment would save 30 jobs at Drakes Bay Oyster Co. and 40 percent of California’s oyster market,” said Dan Epstein, the executive director of Cause of Action, which is part of the oyster company’s legal team.  “It would also send the message to the Department of Interior that transparency and scientific integrity cannot be casually dismissed for political purposes.”

Friday Mar 22, 2013 8:53 PM PT

Feinstein goes feet first into oyster farm fray

 

Sen. Dianne Feinstein re-entered the seemingly never-ending battle over the ouster of an oyster farm from Drakes Bay Friday by co-sponsoring an amendment to a budget resolution that would help the shellfish operation remain open.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar chose not to extend the 40-year lease, known as a reservation of use and occupancy, for the Drakes Bay Oyster Company, late last year.  But the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled in February that the company could stay open until mid-May, when a hearing will be held to hash out “serious legal questions” about the decision.

The amendment, by Sen. David Vitter, R-Louisiana, and Feinstein, D-Calif., was added to the Senate Concurrent Resolution for the 2014 federal budget. It would “establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to reinstate the reservation of use and occupancy and special use permits to conduct certain commercial operations.”

If passed, the amendment would essentially make a statement of support for allowing the oyster operation to remain open at least 10 more years. Budget resolutions, however, do not carry the force of law and are not signed by the president.

The oyster company, which runs a cannery and harvests about a third of the state’s oysters, is the only business on the 2,500-acre estero in Point Reyes National Seashore that Congress designated in 1976 as a future marine wilderness.

Feinstein, who has accused the National Park Service of launching an unfair, scientifically flawed campaign against the oyster farm, also sponsored legislation in 2009 authorizing a lease extension, which Salazar eventually chose not to do. That decision prompted the company to sue.

“This amendment would save 30 jobs at Drakes Bay Oyster Co. and 40 percent of California’s oyster market,” said Dan Epstein, the executive director of Cause of Action, which is part of the oyster company’s legal team.  “It would also send the message to the Department of Interior that transparency and scientific integrity cannot be casually dismissed for political purposes.”

Posted By: Peter Fimrite ( Email ) | Mar 22 at 8:01 pm

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Russell Imrie

     /  March 23, 2013

    more from Politico on votes “(Also on POLITICO: ‘Vote-a-rama’: The ones that matter) Nerves started to fray about 2 a.m., with Democrats pushing to end the voting and Republicans trying to continue to consider amendments. In total, they considered 101 amendments. The standoff brought leadership from both parties to hushed huddles on the floor as tired senators tried to intercede and speed the process. More than an hour of negotiations ensued until a deal was struck, more than 30 amendments would be passed without a vote as a package. Another 14 amendments would be voted on beginning just after 3 a.m. to allow them to finally be able to vote on the budget.

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/03/senate-passes-budget-89244.html#ixzz2ONj3gebD

    Reply

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