06-21-13 Marin IJ: Attorney Peter Prows’ response to Huffman

Response to Huffman

Former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar denied the Drakes Bay Oyster permit in part because of the alleged “incompatibility of commercial activities in wilderness and not on the data that was asserted to be flawed.”

From this quote, Congressman Jared Huffman concludes that the admittedly flawed science is a “red flag”, and he accuses Corey Goodman of contributing to the death of “civility and truth” by critiquing that science.

Huffman seems to think the real problem is that his constituents might question government, not that government used false science (plus arbitrary reinterpretations of law and policy) to abuse his constituents.

For decades, the National Park Service, Sierra Club and citizens groups supported continuation of the oyster farm in perpetuity. More recently, however, the Park Service and some groups reversed position and insisted the farm must go. One prong of their attack was to reinterpret law and policy. The other was to falsely accuse the farm of causing serious — even criminal — environmental harm.

The legality of Salazar’s decision is now in the hands of the courts. But the false science remains important.

Salazar cited the false science in his decision. The government and oyster farm opponents cite the false science in every brief they file in the courts for why the “public good” favors kicking out the oyster farm.

The false science has gone on to infect the Coastal Commission’s decisions about the oyster farm. And ranchers and farmers in West Marin worry they’re next.

Congressman Huffman, what’s your plan?

Peter Prows, Briscoe Ivester & Bazel LLP, San Francisco

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