09-03-2013 Judge Slams Majority Opinion, Calls it a “Hand Waving” decision

Drakes Bay Oyster Co: Judge Slams Majority Opinion, Calls it a “Hand Waving” decision

3 September 2013

INVERNESS, CALIF. — Owners of the Drakes Bay Oyster Company today said they strongly disagree with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision to eject the historic oyster farm, and that attorneys for Drakes Bay are now reviewing all options before announcing the farm’s plans moving forward.

The Ninth Circuit’s three-judge panel ruled 2 to 1 today against the oyster operation, with Justice Paul J. Watford writing a dissenting opinion in support of the oyster farm. In the dissent, Watford wrote that Drakes Bay should have prevailed on its claim that Secretary Salazar’s decision was, “arbitrary, capricious or otherwise not in accordance with law.” Watford also stated that the majority opinion consisted of “hand waving” containing “nothing of any substance”, and that the injunction should have been granted (see pg. 47 from the Ninth Circuit decision).

The well-loved oyster farm asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to prohibit the Federal Government from ejecting Drakes Bay from its property, destroying its business and taking away the jobs of its 30 employees before the case was even fully litigated.

“As community farmers and environmentalists, we continue to hold firmly in our belief that we have taken the appropriate measures to protect and preserve the waters of Drakes Estero and the wildlife that calls the National Seashore home,” said Kevin Lunny, owner of Drakes Bay.

For years, Drakes Bay has been fighting against false science and unsupported accusations from the Interior Department and the National Park Service in their attempts to close down the farm.  In a decision made last November, then-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar refused to issue a permit to allow Drakes Bay to continue farming upon the expiration of its 40-year-lease. The lease allowed the farm to operate on public land within the Point Reyes National Seashore, which was created decades after the oyster farm’s inception.

Drakes Bay asserts that the Ninth Circuit panel failed to consider several critical issues in their decision. Drakes Bay alleges that Salazar illegally determined that the Estero’s “potential wilderness” designation prevailed over Congress’ more recent direction, which authorized the renewal of the farm’s permit due to the fact that Salazar’s decision relied heavily on scientific misconduct and false science.

“The Ninth Circuit’s decision to deny this injunction is a step backwards not only for Drakes Bay, but also for Marin County, proponents of sustainable agriculture and farmers around the country. Our attorneys are now reviewing all of our options before we announce our plans moving forward.” Lunny said.

About Drakes Bay Oyster Company

Oyster farming in Drakes Estero, located in Point Reyes, Marin County, has been part of the region’s history for nearly 100 years. The Lunnys, a fourth-generation ranching family, purchased Drakes Bay in 2004 to revive a historical part of the local community and ensure the continued environmental health of Drakes Estero.  Drakes Bay currently employs nearly 30 community members, and farms sustainably in Drakes Estero, producing approximately one-third of all oysters in California. The Lunny family works hard to participate in keeping the agricultural economic system in West Marin alive. Drakes Bay actively participates in the creation of a more sustainable food model that restores, conserves, and maintains the productivity of the local landscapes and the health of its inhabitants. For more information, please visit www.drakesbayoyster.com.

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6 Comments

  1. miller801

     /  September 3, 2013

    Keep your chin up!

    On Tue, Sep 3, 2013 at 10:20 PM, Drakes Bay Oyster Company & the National Park Service. Watch the video, THE FRAMING OF AN OYSTER FARM

    Reply
  2. Way to go Jane! Cannot give up now, can we.

    Reply
  3. Dee

     /  September 3, 2013

    At this point it is high time for the people of Marin County and California to stand up to this governmental overreach. We are the government, they work for us! We the people need to stand up just like the citizens in Colorado did over the NPS’s unwarranted closure of logging roads. They citizens stood up and the NPS backed down.

    Reply
  4. ALRUI

     /  September 4, 2013

    At least one judge has a functioning brain!

    Reply
  5. Earl

     /  September 4, 2013

    The oyster farm needs to stay. It fits. We are folks who actually use Point Reyes, have been hiking there since the mid 1970’s. The oyster farm is a part of the “wilderness” that we have always enjoyed. Please continue the effort to extend the lease.

    Reply
  6. Jim

     /  September 4, 2013

    Hope the Lunnys take this all the way and not give in like what Nancy Black did. Another suggestion is why not get the Pacific Legal Foundation involved in this, since they are experienced in this kinda matter.

    Reply

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