Articles & Letters

To watch the video: “The Framing of an Oyster Farm”,  click the link or copy and paste it into your web browser:


01-24-15 ProPublica: Bad science from the Park Service

Kevin Lunny has owned and operated the Drakes Bay Oyster Company in a Pacific inlet north of San Francisco since 2005. This winter, an 80-year tradition of shellfish farming in the estuary came to an end when the National Park Service shut Drakes Bay down, claiming the company was a “heavy industry that imperiled the park’s wildlife.” While some environmentalists say “good government prevailed,” an investigation by Newsweek found that the science-as-evidence used to close down Lunny’s farm was either altered or bad. Newseek via @CivilEats

Bad Science, Crazy Mining Laws, and Childcare Horror Stories, #MuckReads: A weekly roundup of investigative reporting from ProPublica, “an ongoing collection of the best watchdog journalism” 


1-23-15 U.S. Department of the Interior And Environmental Lobbyists Conspire To Suppress Science

“Salazar instead ignored science completely and manipulated reports and definitions to suit an environmental agenda.”

For the rest of this article, go to:


01-22-15 Pt Reyes Light: Seal Expert Says Federal Agency Ignored His Findings, by Samantha Kimmey

 “A scientist told a national magazine that a federal agency changed his analysis of photographs of Drakes Estero to justify a claim of environmental harm against Drakes Bay Oyster Company, which ceased operations last month….

In a Newsweek story published online last Sunday, Mr. Stewart said, “It’s clear that what I provided to them and what they produced were different conclusions and different values.” He added, “In science, you shouldn’t do that.” 

For the rest of this article, go to:


01-20-15 Marin IJ: Oyster farm’s demise sets stage for next park battle, by Dick Spotswood

“Just 20 days after the Lunny family operation closed on New Year’s Eve, the farm and all of its facilities are gone. Not just closed, but almost any evidence that it ever existed has disappeared.

When senior bureaucrats have a personal stake in doing something, miracles occur. Oddly, the usual cast of activists that habitually demands studies, scoping sessions and public hearings ad nauseum before any action is taken were missing in action.

It’s difficult to conceive that the oyster farm’s speedy demolition was a federal government project.

For the rest of this article, go to:


01-18-15 NEWSWEEK, Tech & Science: The Oyster Shell Game – “YOU’VE BEEN SHUCKED”, by Michael Ames,


The Oyster Shell Game


Some SIGNIFICANT EXCERPTS from the article (with emphasis added)

The idea that Lunny’s farm was a heavy industry that imperiled the park’s wildlife was, for a while at least, the core reason for evicting him. But for the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), the only agency with the power to enforce full wilderness protection, there was one problem with this argument: PROVING IT!!! 

For the rest of this article, go to:


12-31-14 Pt Reyes Light Letters to Editor: Underwhelmed by Park

It’s been more than a month since
Corey Goodman and I challenged the
park service and its paid supporters to
take a pledge to oppose any suits to restrict
ranchers in the Point Reyes National
Seashore. To date, the responses have
underwhelmed. First there was Neal Desai
of the National Parks Conservation
Association, who called the challenge “ridiculous.”
Second was Amy Trainer of the
Environmental Action Committee, who
had the audacity to write that her idea to
remove cattle from Point Reyes actually
supported the ranchers. And the park has
said absolutely nothing. If that’s the best
they can do, we’re in serious trouble.
Peter Prows
San Francisco


12-24-14 BTW, DOI Salazar went to work for the law firm representing BP & favors Keystone Pipeline

In response to Jeff Creque’s Opinion piece in the West Marin Citizen yesterday, I received this email from a Point Reyes friend: (emphasis added is mine)

FROM: Sim Van der Ryn <>
DATE: December 24, 2014 at 4:14:12 PM PST
TO: Jane Gyorgy <>
Re: Excellent piece by Dr. Jeff Creque

Absolutely brilliant and moving invocation honoring the sad death of the modern environmental movement which predicted many of the consequences of a world disconnected from nature.
I’ve asked myself for years now why did the Sierra Club NRDC, EDF support the destruction of the most ecologically advanced shellfish producer on the Pacific Coast ? I believe its because they know they’ve lost on all the big issues of climate chaos and no one in dysfunctional DC listens to them. So they score a small “victory” for their diminishing supporters.

In destroying Drake’s Bay. Salazar, in case you don’t know it, went from DC, to the law firm representing BP.

Sim Van der Ryn
P.O. Box 858
Inverness, CA 94937


12-24-14 West Marin Citizen, Opinion, Dr. Creque: “Our actions matter…on our… path to self-destruction”

“I have spent the past 35 years exploring… the many challenges attendant to producing food in a manner that is ecologically benign or, at its best, beneficial. …. it was not until I watched the evolution of the Drakes Bay Oyster Farm under the stewardship of the Lunny family that I came to fully appreciate how closely the Farm approaches perfection as a truly sustainable food production system. This simple fact is made all the more poignant by the juxtaposition of the imminent loss of the Farm and the particularly critical juncture in human history at which we now find ourselves….

For the complete article, go to:


11-20-14 West Marin Citizen: Chilling Parallels [PRNS and Santa Rosa Island]

“The EAC scoping letter should be read very carefully…..

For example, the group’s comment letter asserts that EAC “supports the incorporation of BMPs (Best Management Practices) into the 20-year leases. How will the Seashore measure success of each BMP? One management practice that is necessary is to transition cattle out of the wetlands and headwaters of all the bays of Drakes Estero. These sensitive areas should be fenced off to maintain water quality and only allow flash grazing as necessary and based on set protocols.”

On what basis does Amy Trainer, a lawyer/activist with no natural resource management credentials, claim authority on the topic of ranching Best Management Practices? What drives her certainty that “flash grazing,”  or any other specific rangeland management practice, is “necessary”—even before the Ranch CMP is completed?

For the rest of the article, go to:



11-13-14 Point Reyes Light: Opinion by Dr. Laura Watt, Ranchers have “good cause for concern”

“Last week an opinion piece in this newspaper suggested that environmental groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, might be gunning for the Point Reyes National Seashore’s dairy and beef ranches through the recent Ranch Comprehensive Management Planning process. The authors, and others who support the continuation of ranching, may have good cause for concern. This would not be the first time advocacy groups have used planning processes to target the leased ranches…”

For the complete article, go to:


11-13-14 Point Reyes Light & West Marin Citizen: Letter to the Editors: Our pledge request dashed

Letter to the editor:
Our pledge request dashed
Last week we asked Neal Desai of the National Park Conservation Association and Amy Trainer of the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin to “take the pledge” to promise to the community that “neither I nor any organization I am a part of will ever participate in legal action to eliminate or restrict the ranches on Point Reyes.” We asked because in the late 1990s, Mr. Desai and his organization successfully sued the National Park Service based on the federal Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act to get rid of a ranch on Santa Rosa Island. On Tuesday evening, Nita Vail, whose family was evicted from that ranch, spoke to the community, and cautioned us that what happened to her could happen here. Mr. Desai was in the audience. During the Q&A period, one of us asked Mr. Desai to take the pledge. His answer, which should be a wake up call to the community, was to say that such a request was “ridiculous.” That word makes the many others from Mr. De- sai and Ms. Trainer in support of agriculture just that—hollow words.
Dr. Corey Goodman and Peter Prows, esq.
Marshall and Oakland



By Dr. Corey Goodman and Peter Prows, esq.

The park, the E.A.C., the N.P.C.A. and others have claimed they are not trying to get rid of the ranches. We are skeptical. If they mean what they say, then we ask Jon Jarvis, Neal Desai, Gordon Bennett, Amy Trainer and Jerry Meral to make the following pledge to the community: I promise that neither I nor any organization I am a part of will ever participate in legal action to eliminate or restrict the ranches on Point Reyes; and if such legal action is ever taken, I will do everything in my power to vigorously defend the ranches.

If they don’t take the pledge, watch out. Our ranches are about to disappear.

For the complete article, go to:


10-03-14 Law on the Half Shell SHELLSHOCKED – Saving Oyster to Save Ourselves

“Overfishing and pollution have devastated oyster reefs worldwide, leading to their labeling as the ‘most severely impacted marine habitat’ on the planet.  With a single oyster able to filter over fifty gallons of water per day and reefs of oysters forming the bases of entire ecosystems and economies, the effects of this destruction have been dire.  Attempts are underway to rebuild oyster reefs, with New York Harbor the focus of the youth-led Billion Oyster Project.  Yet such endeavors have faced tremendous opposition, ranging from the Obama Administration’s removal in 2014 of Drakes Bay Oyster Farm in Marin County, CA and the Supreme Court’s subsequent refusal to review the decision, to the State of Massachusetts blocking current efforts to use oysters to clean up the polluted Mystic River, to New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation hampering individual homeowner efforts to clean up New York’s polluted waterways through oyster farming.”

For more on this, go to:

Copyright Litigation Blog


10-02-14 PRL: EAC Loses Only Agricultural Representative – felt ineffective in communicating needs

The only board member of the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin who works in agriculture resigned this month, believing she wasn’t filling the role in the way she set out to. “I felt that I wasn’t effective in communicating the needs of the farmers and the ranchers out here,” said Mimi Luebberman, who runs Windush Farm, where she raises sheep for wool on 26 acres in Chileno Valley. “I wasn’t meeting my own goals in communicating with people.”

Peter Martinelli, (board member from ’99 – ’07), …said there was a shift away from collaboration with agriculturalists  “… from agriculture and environmentalism working together and more towards a preservationist agenda…”

For the complete article, go to:


9-8-14 (reprint of 10-04-09) Point Reyes Light Editor Tess Elliott on Gordon Bennett’s trouble with the truth

I once shared a homemade Pugliese tart with Gordon Bennett in a Starbucks in San Francisco. We had been guests on a show on public radio, along with Kevin Lunny of Drakes Bay Oyster Company. Bennett had made several claims that I knew were false. As we exited the sound room, I suggested we keep chatting, and over slices of pastry I had packed in my purse, I asked Bennett how he could lie on air.

For the rest of the article, go to:


09-08-14 Gordon Bennett’s trouble with the truth

 In his declaration submitted to the federal court (attached), he swore to the following under penalty of perjury:

“[Save Our Seashore] is a 501(c)(3) organization”
–FACT:  a search of the IRS 501(c)(3) website for “Save Our Seashore” returns no hits.
“the [Sierra] Club (and many other environmental organizations) had long anticipated and supported” the decision to shut down the oyster farm
–FACT:  in the 1970s, the Sierra Club and EAC supported the continuation of the oyster farm even in a designated wildness area
“boats and oyster workers … share’ the same sandbars that the seals need for nursing their pups”
–FACT:  the oyster boats and workers stay at least 700 yards away from the harbor seals.  The Park Service’s analysis ofmorethan 300,000 photographs of those sandbars found “no evidence” that the oyster boats and workers ever disturbed a single harbor seal. 
See if you can spot Gordon’s other misrepresentations!


08-23-14 Marin IJ Hard-working oyster farm workers lost their jobs

Hard-working oyster farm workers lost their jobs

When I got back from Korea in the 1950s, I went to work for the previous owner of what is now Drakes Bay Oyster Co. I know my share of oyster farming, from seeding to sending oysters to market.

Watch out dairy ranchers and others out there, the transplant West Marin enviros now have you in their sights. They would rather look at tule elk, which are useless, than look at milk cows.

For the rest of this article, go to:


08-21-14 In a post today in Green Biz, Lizzie Needham, Associate Community Manager at GreenBiz Group, Top Contributor wrote

Dear GreenBiz Group Member,

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, deforestation accounts for 10 percent of global emissions—a big number when you consider that this equates to around 3.0 billion tons of CO2 per year. Tensie Whelan, President of the Rainforest Alliance, fights to reduce deforestation by advocating for biodiversity protection and sustainable agricultural systems.

In her recent GreenBiz interview, Whelan claims that we are seeing exponential progress, particularly within the business world, but crucial action still lags. Whelan’s interview also reminds us that while business cooperation makes a difference, impactful natural resource protection transformations rely on government support. You can read Whelan’s full interview here:

Do any members have unique or impressive examples of government leaders taking significant action to protect natural resources?

I responded:

  • I have an example of government doing exactly the opposite in removing Drakes Bay Oyster Farm from the Point Reyes National Seashore in California. The DOI, the NPS, and the CCC have committed their own style of deforestation by misinterpreting the law, re-writing history, and trampling California State’s Rights in so doing. Worse, the beacons of environmental preservation cannot see the forest for the trees in that they are now stating the opposite of their position in the establishment of the Point Reyes National Seashore in 1962, the opposite of their position in the passing of the Wilderness Act in 1976. Even the then PRNS Superintendent, Don Neubacher has done a 180 on his position in his letter Oakland Bank in 1998 where he stated he had every intention of continuing the oyster farm after it’s lease expired in 2012. It is as if they cannot see the forest for the trees! DBOC is a locally produced, sustainable, renewable source of protein production – 40% of CA oysters are produced there and they were the LAST oyster cannery in CA. Oyster Bay Wildlife Refuge on Long Island has a commercial oyster farm that produces 90% of New York’s oysters

    If then why not now?
    If there why not here in CA?

    There is still hope with the lawsuit filed by the other oyster companies and businesses in the area who depend on Drakes Bay Oysters to stay in business.

    For the legal documents, legitimate scientific reports and more go to or

  • Oyster farming and wilderness are not mutually exclusive. 


08-15-14 WM Citizen: Why West Marin finds it difficult to heal

Why West Marin finds it difficult to heal  Lack of respect major factor It has come to the attention of the Citizen that the Environmental Action Committee of Point Reyes Station is sending out emails to its supporters asking them to begin a letter-writing campaign to three newspapers outside of West Marin. The request is The request is to include in the letters the following points, and to send copies to Cicely Muldoon and Jon Jarvis….

For the ten points, see

Meanwhile, some 25 families face an uncertain future, families with young children in local schools, families that will find it nearly impossible to find housing or jobs where they have lived and worked for some time. Thousands of people have been deprived of a valued local resource which was accessible to all, not merely the elite. It appears cruel at this time to state that, “I am grateful for having the oyster shack closed” without taking into consideration the families who have been directly impacted.

As for the other points, most have been disputed in the lengthy campaign to discredit and attack a local well-respected family. It should be pointed out once again that the attacks began with the NPS accusing the Lunny’s of breaking Federal marine mammal protection laws (falsely) back in 2007, and led by the EAC, accusing our West Marin community of extreme right-wing interests, accusing the oyster farm of causing the marine vomit invasion (false), zooming motor boats (thousands of hours of filming and recording never proved this) and so on. An honest campaign would have gained respect, but instead falsehoods were utilized to further the quest, in the same manner our political campaigns are run.

The severe and often false accusations from NPS and environmental groups created and grew a grass-roots defense. This was a natural and logical response as it is difficult to continue turning the other cheek in response to attacks. This is what so many West Marin residents are angry over.

For the complete article, go to:



08-09-14 Marin Voice: Beginning of a new chapter for the Lunny family

By Kevin Lunny


Drakes Bay Oyster Co. has been an institution in Marin for nearly 100 years. First with the Johnson family, and for the last decade it has been the privilege of the Lunny family to continue that tradition.

Generations of Marin residents as well as other Northern California visitors have not only enjoyed our oysters but were able to come out to the farm, meet with our family and loyal employees, enjoy the outdoors and learn how oysters are grown and their benefit to the environment.

We provide our oysters to restaurants all over the Bay Area as part of the locally grown movement. We have been the last oyster cannery in the state of California.

Many of our 30 employees live at the farm. Some have worked here for nearly three decades. Their children have been born here, and today raise their own families here. They go to church with us. They are part of the fabric of our community.

We loved being part of the sustainable food business. We loved being good stewards of Drakes Estero. For us, the farm has been an integral part of what Marin is all about — the combination of sustainable, locally produced food while protecting the environment and maintaining the pastoral character of our community.

For the rest of the article, go to


08-07-14 Pt Reyes Light, Our choice: A living seashore or a silent landscape


Friday’s closing ceremony for Drakes Bay Oyster Company felt like a wake for someone still living. Or had that person died? None of the people gathered on the shores of the estuary seemed to know, and Drakes Estero herself was silent, if you hoped for an answer there. The succession of speakers who braced against the cold gusts rolling in off the ocean each shared their own emotional mixture: a funny combination of denial, defiance and resignation, as an NPR reporter described it, a cocktail the whole crowd seemed to be drinking. Since I did not (and do not) know if the fight is over—if the oyster farm still has a sliver of a chance at remaining in its nearly century-old home, or if the oysters themselves have a chance at a new iteration there or elsewhere—I spoke about what I do know.
For the complete article, go to:


08/04/2014 Oyster Farming is the “Wilderness”


(Click on the link and then click to watch the video):


Oyster farming is the “Wilderness”………

Check this out –

Went there last weekend – “Farm to Table (his own Oyster Farm and his own Vegetable Farm)”. Now the Number 1 Restaurant in Rhode Island.

Get the message…………………… its sustainability.

Bruce McGown



08-03-14 Wildlife Refuge – 90% NY oysters produced there, if there WHY NOT HERE?

Wildlife & Habitat – Oyster Bay – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

  • Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge consists of 3,204 acres of bay bottom, salt marsh, and a small freshwater wetland. It is managed principally for use by migratory waterfowl and other waterbirds. It is also one of the few bay-bottom refuges owned and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The refuge is located off Long Island Sound, and the sheltered nature of the bay makes it extremely attractive as winter habitat for a variety of waterfowl species, especially diving ducks.

    The State of New York has designated the Oyster Bay area as a Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat. Marine wildlife common to the refuge includes harbor seals, diamondback terrapins, and several species of sea turtles. Shellfish and finfish are abundant at Oyster Bay. The bay supports the only commercial oyster farm aquaculture operation remaining on Long Island, and an estimated 90 percent of the commercial oysters in New York originate from areas associated with the refuge.

    For the full article, go to:


Park management flip-flopped on Lunny operation


In the July 17 Point Reyes Light, Gordon Bennett counters the letter to the community from the Lunny family (July 10). Bennett’s op-ed is full of half-truths and innuendo, and is disingenuous.

While the Lunnys were told fairly early on by park superintendent Don Neubacher that the park service did not intend to renew the lease in 2012, the lease DID have a renewal clause. Neubacher told me personally that the lease couldn’t be extended, so he lied to me. I’ve seen the original lease with the renewal clause. It isn’t particularly strong, but it’s there.

As the Lunnys described, Neubacher gave Kevin Lunny his blessing to take over the lease. But, he then wanted Lunny to sign a quitclaim ensuring that he would abandon the operation in 2012. Why? Because the lease could be renewed if the parties agreed. Lunny refused to sign under such duress.


For the complete article click on or copy and paste the link below into your web browser:


May 2014 Nat’l Geographic Cover story: EAT Serving more than 7 billion every day

The link to the article:  Feeding 9 Billion | National Geographic.


To feed our hungry planet, we must change the way we farm – and the way we think.

By Jonathan Foley

“When we think about threats to the environment, we tend to picture cars and smokestacks, not dinner. But the truth is, our need for food poses one of the biggest dangers to the planet.”

from pg 35 of the hard copy


Where will we find enough food for 9 billion?

A Five Step Plan to FEED THE WORLD

For the rest of the story, click on or copy and paste the link  below into your web browser:


06-27-14 WSJ: Oyster Farm Digs in for High Court Hearing

Oyster Farm Digs in for High Court Hearing


“The oyster farm’s owners, Kevin Lunny and his family, have staved off closure so far by appealing the decision in the federal courts. They are now waiting to learn whether the U.S. Supreme Court will hear their case.

If the answer is yes, it would allow the Lunnys at least a few more months to continue their business, which employs 25 people and produces about a third of California-harvested oysters. The court’s decision on whether to hear the case next fall could be posted on its website Monday.

Amid the uncertainty, Mr. Lunny said he has reduced his staffing from 30 to 25, mostly through attrition. While he remains hopeful of ultimately winning the fight, he said it has taken a toll on him.

“The government is a powerful group to be up against,” said Mr. Lunny, who is being represented by pro bono attorneys. “They have unlimited resources and they just line up the lawyers.”

For the complete article click on or copy and paste the link below into your web browser:


06-12-14 So. Index Trib: “One Last Lunny Long Shot” decision by end of June possible

Excerpt (emphasis added)

For supporters of the wilderness conversion of Drakes Bay, the issue is simple: the Lunnys’ lease ran out. End of story. Commercial developments aren’t compatible with wilderness.

Except, perhaps, where they are.

Drakes Bay Peninsula lands are, and presumably will continue to be, farmed by commercial cattle ranchers.

Commercial developments in Yosemite and Yellowstone and countless other wild parklands of America have somehow been accommodated.

And, it has been credibly demonstrated, the Lunnys’ oyster operation has no negative environmental impact on the land and waters of Drake’s Bay.

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06-01-14 Lunny and Ranchers in PRNS & GGNRA re PRSRA Scoping Comments to Cicely Muldoon, et al

From: Kevin Lunny []
Sent: Sunday, June 01, 2014 5:27 PM
To: ‘Cicely Muldoon’
Cc: Callaway, Jenny (; Steve Kinsey (; Liza Crosse (; Alonso, Scott (; Hartzell, Jessica (Feinstein); Felix Yeung (; ‘’
Subject: PRNS Ranch Comprehensive Management Plan Environmental Assessment
Dear Cicely,
The Point Reyes Seashore Ranchers Association (PRSRA) has asked me to send you a copy of the PRSRA scoping comments for the current NEPA process.  Since PRNS announced that it was beginning the process and made the materials available to PRSRA, the work began.  Over the past month, PRSRA membership got together regularly to produce these scoping comments.  These scoping comments are the result of an in-depth participation by most of the ranchers.  There were hundreds of suggestions by all ranchers involved to arrive at this letter that was ultimately unanimously approved by PRSRA and includes the signatures of almost every rancher within PRNS and GGNRA.
The members of PRSRA are taking this process very seriously and are looking forward to a collaborative, open process that will result in the long-term viability of the ranches, while protecting the exceptional cultural and natural resources within the ranchlands of PRNS and GGNRA.
A physical copy of the attached letter, with the signature page and its attachments, will be hand delivered to your office tomorrow. [appended below]
Thank you,
Kevin, and all the ranchers at PRNS and GGNRA
For the letter and more, go to:


05-19-14, 17 NATIONAL PARKS:

2 scientists urge Supreme Court to take up oyster case

Emily Yehle, E&E reporter

Published: Monday, May 19, 2014

The Supreme Court should take up an oyster farm’s fight against the Interior Department because the case offers an opportunity to ensure federal courts have the jurisdiction to reject false science, two scientists who have criticized Interior in the past argue in an amicus brief filed Friday.

The friend-of-the-court brief was one of several filed in support of the farm’s petition to get its case reviewed by the Supreme Court. Drakes Bay Oyster Co. is challenging Interior’s 2012 decision not to renew its operating permit in Point Reyes National Seashore (Greenwire, April 14).

Scientists Corey Goodman and Paul Houser teamed up to write a 32-page brief that argues that the Supreme Court should take the case “to make clear that the courts can, and should, remedy scientific misconduct.” Goodman is a venture capitalist who is part of the National Academy of Sciences, while Houser is a hydrology professor who formerly worked for Interior.


For the complete article click on, or copy and paste the link below into your web browser:


05/01/2014 Point Reyes Light: Circuit Court Denies EAC, NPCA, NRDC & SOS Appeal as Intervenors

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals this week affirmed a lower court ruling denying a request by the Environmental Action Committee, the National Parks Conservation Association, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Save our Seashore to be named intervenors in federal litigation between Drakes Bay Oyster Company and the federal government. Outside parties can be designated as intervenors in a case if they can prove that their particular interests are not being properly represented; intervenors can file briefs as official parties and participate in hearings. The organizations argued that their interests were specifically focused on wilderness protection, whereas the federal government’s position was based on broader issues of the management of national parks. District court judges previously ruled that the groups’ arguments would be too similar to the federal government’s and would result in unnecessary paperwork, but said they could still participate as amici curaie. Although the Ninth Circuit affirmed that ruling, the circuit also ruled in September against Drakes Bay’s request for an emergency injunction to continue operations as it fights the park’s decision to remove the oyster farm, which is now appealing that decision to the Supreme Court.


04-17-14 Pt Reyes Light: In draft ruling, state told to backtrack on oyster farm orders

In draft ruling, state told to backtrack on oyster farm orders


Samantha Kimmey


A Marin judge issued a tentative ruling on Tuesday that the California Coastal Commission failed to comply with state environmental law when it issued enforcement orders to Drakes Bay Oyster Company without undertaking a review of potential harmful impacts. Judge Roy Chernus also ruled that the commission abused its discretion last year by excluding from the administrative record documents the oyster farm submitted, also a violation of the California Environmental Quality Act.


For the complete article, click on, or copy and paste the link below into your web browser:



04-02-14 Huffington Post (corrections in parentheses)

The U.S. Supreme Court (will receive the filing of Drakes Bay Oyster Farm Appeal) on April 14th, 2014. (When they will decide if it will hear the case could be as early as two months, could also be many, many months.) Along with the jobs of thirty oyster farm employees, what’s at stake is whether citizens can go to court to challenge a decision by a regulatory agency (the Ninth Circuit said no), and whether federal agencies must follow the National Environmental Protection Act in issuing its decisions (the Interior Department says ‘not always’). And whether Californians will be able to continue growing and harvesting some of the cleanest shellfish on earth as they have done for nearly a century.

For the complete article click on or copy and paste the link below into your web browser:



03-31-2014 Calif Coastal Commission says Lunnys have NO RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS


Author: Sarah Rolph


“…. In a pattern very similar to the false narrative being conducted against the Lunny family by the Park Service, the Coastal Commission has made a cascading, confusing series of claims that play fast and loose with the facts. All indications are that these two agencies are working together against the oyster farm.  They use the same false claims, and neither will acknowledge the expert declarations that counter their anti-oyster farm assertions….”

For more on this see:


02-22-2014 Loss Leaders on the Half Shell

Mark Kurlansky, author of “The Big Oyster,” says something bigger than demographics is at work here: it’s destiny. In the early 1900s, both rich and poor New Yorkers ate oysters, whether at elegant dinners or bought from street carts. He believes that the people lined up outside Maison Premiere are hard-wired to love this particular bivalve; they simply needed the opportunity.

He doesn’t see himself as part of a trend, which implies a temporary infatuation, but as a standard-bearer for a revived tradition.

For more and access to the complete article, click on or copy and paste the link below into your web browser:


02-07-14 Former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar: Oh, Hey, the Keystone Pipeline Rocks!

Get a load of who’s endorsing the project now that he’s no longer in a position to help it come to fruition:

Former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in an interview Thursday his endorsement of construction of the Keystone oil sands pipeline comes after learning new information, including that the pipeline would not greatly increase carbon emissions.

Speaking at an energy conference in Texas earlier this week, Salazar said he supported the project.

He said he believed construction could “be done in a way that creates a win-win for energy and the environment.”

For the rest of this article, go to:


01-30-2014 Pt Reyes Light: Miracle Stay Keeps DBOC Afloat

Miracle stay keeps Drakes afloat, By Samantha Kimmey, 01/30/2014, Point Reyes Light

The fate of Drakes Bay Oyster Company rests in the hands of the justices of the United States Supreme Court.

The historic Point Reyes shellfish farm’s owners, employees and supporters might have thought a miracle occurred on Monday, when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the farm’s plea for a 90-day stay so it might continue selling and canning shellfish while a team of lawyers submits an appeal to the high court.

For the complete article, click on, or copy and paste the link below into your web browser:


01-30-2014 Marin Voice: “9th Circuit … Puts a Thumb on the Scale” (of Justice)

Marin Voice: Oyster ruling deserves another look

By Jim Linford
Guest op-ed column

Posted:   01/30/2014 06:11:32 PM PST


THE Ninth Circuit has refused to rehear the oyster farm case with only one judge an Obama appointee and the dissent’s authorvoting to rehear it. The case will now go to the United States Supreme Court who may agree to hear it.

But the Ninth Circuit decision is very odd because, again and again, it puts a thumb on the scale.

First, it needlessly disparages — or at least trivializes — one side in the dispute. The opinion begins:

“This appeal, which pits an oyster farm, oyster lovers and well-known “foodies” against environmentalists aligned with the federal government, has generated considerable attention in the San Francisco Bay Area.”

While the court appears to take judicial notice of the public debate, it apparently does not acknowledge that sustainable agriculture is an environmentalist concern, and, most importantly, that there are environmentalists on both sides of the dispute. The court puts a thumb on the scale.

For the full article click on or copy and paste the link below into your web browser

01-14-14 Drakes Bay Oyster Co to appeal to U.S. Supreme Court

Statement from Drakes Bay Oyster Company Regarding Denial of En Banc Rehearing

The following statement is attributed to Kevin Lunny, owner of Drakes Bay Oyster Company, in response to today’s Ninth Circuit denial of its request for an en banc rehearing.

“We believe the Court’s decision not to rehear our case is incorrect, and that the dissenting opinion from Judge Watford will prevail,” said Kevin Lunny, owner of Drakes Bay Oyster. “Because of that, we are requesting our case be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. We are grateful for our thousands of supporters, partners, customers and patrons that have supported our small, family-owned farm for four generations. We remain committed to succeeding in our fight to remain open and serve our community,” Lunny said.

The small family owned farm has been fighting to remain open despite the National Park Service’s determination to close them down.


12-05-13 WMC Opinion: Final Paragraph: Fear of Facts by Dr. Corey Goodman

Seven years into this debate, the pattern is clear: I keep offering to discuss the data—a normal part of the scientific process—and people on the other side steadfastly refuse. This, to me, is evidence that they are advocates and not scientists. As the court case moves forward, expect more alarming claims. But don’t expect them to have any more merit than the many previous false, and retracted,claims. Science, after all, is about  debate and discourse, not twisting facts to fit a preconceived ideology. Scientists have three words for such behavior: fear of facts.  


Corey Goodman, a biologist, University of California, San Francisco faculty member and elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, lives in Marshall.


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12-05-13 WMC Opinion: Fear of Facts by Dr. Corey Goodman

When I was a student at Stanford, one of the things I enjoyed most was the way scientists debated facts. No claim could be made without data to back it up, and all data were subject to robust scrutiny and examined for holes and errors. That was how we were taught to seek truth. We were encouraged to ask tough questions, and were taught that science is just as much about disproving old hypotheses as deriving new ones. It was the same culture of science I taught to my students throughout my career. 

Thus it came as a shock when, nearly 40 years later, I first got involved in the oyster farm debate and discovered that none of the National Park Service scientists or their local supporters wanted to discuss the data. At Supervisor Steve Kinsey’s request, I examined that data. As I reported at the county hearing on May 8, 2007, the data did not support their accusations.

For the complete article, click on or copy and paste the link below into your web browser: 


11-21-13 WMC Letter to Editor: Let Them Eat Cake?

(Original Title Above Revised by WMC  to: “Coastal Protection Incomplete)


Assemblyman Mark Levine on Nov. 6 hosted “Protecting California’s Coast,” a forum on the expansion of California Coastal Commission’s numbers and authority to levy fines.

Two 40-minute presentations by proponents, and one 40-minute presentation by opponents, followed by 20 minutes from the public.

Pro-commission panelists talked straight through most of the opponent’s time and deserted the forum without hearing from them. The public was relegated to post-adjournment where only opposition panelists and a handful of the audience remained. Even reporters had left.

My comments:

  • Is the ocean less acidic? No.
  • Is the nitrogen content of the ocean falling? No.
  • Kinsey showed us a graph of the population of our state and the projections for its growth but failed to note that world population is now at seven billion and by 2020 will be at nine billion.
  • Have we ended world hunger? No.
  • Have we in Marin become so smug we can contemplate removal of an ecologically and economically beneficial local source of sustainable, renewable, protein production and tell the hungry of the world, “Let them eat cake”?

Kinsey said, “necessary characteristics of the [CCC] are to be fair and efficient.” Absent from his necessary characteristics were “honest and trustworthy.”

The commission accepted evidence presented by Amy Trainer of the Environmental Action Committee, and others, against Drakes Bay Oyster Company, some of which has been proven false, then the Commission voted to exclude all DBOF’s evidence in its defense.

This is not the agency we should expand nor the agency that should have the ability to fine us.

Good for Levine for wanting to listen and learn!

Jane Gyorgy


11-08-13 Ntl Pks Traveler: Int. Secy. Jewell recuses herself from DBOC issue

SAN FRANCISCO — Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has recused herself from a controversial case of an oyster farm operating in a potential wilderness area.

Speaking at a youth conservation corps event in San Francisco’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Jewell declined to comment on Drakes Bay Oyster Co., which has been in a long fight with the National Park Service over its right to remain in California’s Point Reyes National Seashore.

“Unfortunately, I’m recused from the Drakes Bay discussion and it’s also in active litigation, so it’s not something I can comment on, nor is it a place that I would go and visit,” Jewell said when asked whether she would revisit former Secretary Ken Salazar’s decision to not renew the farm’s lease after years of debate over the farm’s effect on wildlife. “An organization that I was affiliated with took a position on that, and so I’m just recused.”

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11-07-13 WMC Editor’s Letter to the Readers of the Citizen

In the two years I have been the editor and publisher of the Citizen, I have worked hard to provide good coverage of the Drakes Bay Oyster controversy. It’s a complicated issue with many facets, so it is not surprising that dialog on this topic can be difficult. It is dismaying, however, to see the discussion devolve at times into name-calling, innuendo, and non-factual accusations.


In the past two weeks, as the Citizen has reported, eight significant friend-of-the-court briefs have been filed on behalf of the oyster farm in its bid for a rehearing by the Ninth Circuit. Each brief addresses a different facet of the story, and all of them are interesting.


Starting this week, the Citizen will present a series about these briefs with the goal of creating a community discussion about them. Each week we will publish a profile of one brief and provide a link to the document itself.

For the complete article, click on or copy and paste the link below into your web browser:


11-04-13 Santa Rosa Press Democrat:

An embattled oyster farm in the Point Reyes National Seashore is a legitimate exception to the Wilderness Act, a San Rafael attorney asserted.

“Savoring a Drakes Estero oyster is a wilderness experience,” concluded the federal court brief filed by James Linford, representing a nonprofit group that supports an historic cabin in the Eldorado National Forest.

Jorge Mata and Isela Meza, employees at Drakes Bay Oyster Company represented by a Legal Aid of Marin lawyer, said that closing the farm would be “devastating” to about 30 workers and their families.

The diverse arguments come from eight “friend of the court” briefs filed in the last three weeks in support of oyster company owner Kevin Lunny’s request for a rehearing by the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

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10-31-13 WMC Oyster Workers file briefs in support of DBOC

Mata’s brief contends he “is proud to work at the oyster farm where his family is treated with respect, earns a living wage, is able to live and work together and has developed personal relationships with his coworkers and the Lunny family. Mr. Mata and his family stand to lose their jobs and their respective homes, if the oyster farm is closed.”

Oyster workers file briefs in support of DBOC

By Peggy Day

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10-31-13 WMC – Number of Briefs on behalf of DBOC, by Sarah Rolph

The historic oyster farm in Drakes Estero is one of the resources Point Reyes National Seashore was formed to protect. Indeed, the desire to preserve the farming and ranching here is a major reason Point Reyes is a National Seashore and not a National Park.


This is one of the key facts being clarified in the tremendous outpouring of support on behalf of Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s petition requesting a re-hearing of its case in the Ninth Circuit. Eight separate Amicus Curiae, or friend-of-the-court, briefs have been filed, shedding light on legal, scientific, historic, economic, and cultural aspects of the case.


Judge Watford pointed out that when Congress was considering the legislation that became the 1976 Point Reyes Wilderness Act, wilderness proponents “stressed a common theme: that the oyster farm was a beneficial pre-existing use that should be allowed to continue notwithstanding the area’s designation as wilderness.”


Number of briefs now filed on behalf of DBOC totals eight

By Sarah Rolph

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10-24-13 Point Reyes Light: Oyster Supporters Plagued by Vandalism

Since a small grassroots group began fashioning the free signs with donated plywood, producing around 600 copies to date, their work has been defaced or stolen repeatedly. Members of the coalition have been frightened by intrusions on supporters’ property and worry the destructive tactics will only further divide the West Marin community around the Drakes Bay controversy.


But recently, the sabotage has become more violent and widespread, supporters said. Ms. Carpenter awoke on a June morning to find a curse word scrawled in black marker across the sign outside her home in Lagunitas. Jeff Creque, an ALSA board member and Inverness resident, has had multiple signs stolen. Some fences in Bolinas were damaged when vandals ripped down signs screwed into posts. And one sign placed at the Rich’s Readimix Quarry Building, where the mural was recently painted and vandalized, was thrown into a stream behind the building.

For the complete article, click on or copy and paste the link below into your web browser:


10-23-13 Press Democrat: Former Assemblyman & Congressman file brief in support of DBOC

William Bagley, a former Marin County assemblyman, and Pete McCloskey, a former Bay Area congressman, filed a 26-page brief this week supporting Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s bid for a rehearing by the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which rejected the company’s case in September.

The brief, backed by 11 other parties including the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, also asserted that even without a federal permit for use of the estero shoreline, Lunny could continue oyster cultivation under a state lease of the estero “water bottoms.”

“I’m pissed off,” he (Pete McCloskey) said in a telephone interview. “I’m 86 years old and I wish I was young enough to get back into this fight.”

McCloskey, a co-founder of the first Earth Day, received the Sierra Club’s first “environmental hero” award in 2010.

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10-10-13 Marin Voice OpEd: “Judges Agreed, Congress’ intent oyster farm to remain indefinitely”

“… it is not well understood that the judges did all agree on a very important fact: When Congress designated the wilderness in the Point Reyes National Seashore in 1976, it thought the oyster farm to be compatible with wilderness and expected the farm to remain indefinitely.”

Jim Linford of Marinwood is a semi-retired appellate attorney and an active member of the California Bar.

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Whistleblower in Snyder tree case moves on to a new job, wins settlement with park service

By Miranda S. Spivack, Published: October 3

The federal government has settled whistleblower retaliation complaints from a former C & O Canal chief ranger who said he suffered years of reprisals after revealing that the National Park Service had allowed Washington Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder to cut down 130 mature trees in a federally protected area.

Epilogue: Danno won his case and has been moved from his post in DC, to his “new assignment” in – Missoula, Montana

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The EAC has become unrecognizable


Dear Editor,

The Environmental Action Committee in recent years has morphed into to an organization unrecognizable from when I was a member, beginning in the late 70’s. At that time we worked hand in hand with the ranching community and I have fond memories of the partnership  to steward the land that was struck between our local farmers and us new arrivals from a more urban background.


We often had very different political views, but we treated each other for the most part with respect and politeness. After all, the ranching community was here before we were; most importantly, they were active partners in establishing the park and were a major contributor to the unique character of the West Marin we moved to.


The park would not have come into existence without the support of the ranchers when it was just a dream. It is outrageous for the EAC, led by Ms. Trainer, to turn around and bite the hand that feeds us all. What’s next? No renewal of dairy ranch leases?



Hobart Wright

Inverness Park

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09-26-13 WMC Guest Column DBOC CORE of Sustainable Food, Champion Health/Diversity Estero

When I first learned about this conflict, I expected to be on the side of the Park Service. After learning more about the facts of the situation, I’m not. Despite my emotional attraction to the idea of “protecting” this beautiful area, I believe the Park Service has become locked into an outdated and overly rigid notion of wilderness. Worse still, in pursuit of its goals the agency has become a political bully and intentional purveyor of junk science, distorting regulatory requirements and ignoring the ongoing value of the oyster farm  to both the estero and the community. DBOC, in contrast, has emerged as a core player in the Bay Area sustainable food movement, and a champion of the diversity and health of the estero.

Sandor Schoichet is a management consultant working with biopharma and sustainability clients. He lives in San Rafael.

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09-30-13 Natl Parks Traveller: POINT REYES has a BUMPER CROP OF SEALS!

Point Reyes National Seashore has had a bumper crop of seals this year.

Seal Production At Point Reyes

While the National Park Service has in the past claimed that the operations of an oyster farm at Point Reyes National Seashore were impacting harbor seals that use Drakes Estero, recent seal production numbers from the estero seem to indicate those impacts have been very, very good.

“The 2013 harbor seal monitoring season has now ended and it was a great year for the seals. During the pupping season, we recorded approximately 1,400 pups, which is one of the highest counts for Point Reyes,” the San Francisco Bay Area National Parks Science and Learning staff noted in their Harbor Seal Monitoring Update for August. “…Drakes Estero had the highest count with 1,122 seals, followed closely by Double Point with 1,012 seals.”

Perhaps because the Park Service is in the middle of a legal battle with Drakes Bay Oyster Co. over the company’s use of Drakes Estero for farming oysters, a disclaimer to that report stresses that “(T)hese data and related graphics are not legal documents and are not intended to be used as such.”

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09-26-13 PRL Letter to Editor: EAC must…find new…Executive Director, Trainer mocks EAC goals

From my reading of the Environmental Action Committee’s mission statement, posted on their website, the conduct of Executive Director Amy Trainer toward the Lunny family and Drakes Bay Oyster Company is clearly in conflict with the goals and objectives of the organization.


Ms. Trainer’s take-no-prisoners approach to problem solving in this long-standing debate has made an absolute mockery of these goals. Even now that the fate of DBOC is squarely in the hands of courts, her attempt to smear the Lunnys is stark evidence of how she has allowed her role to degenerate, without apology, into a personal vendetta.


If this is the kind of reprehensible conduct the EAC is proud to support, then the gaping wounds that have been opened in the hearts and minds of so many people in this community and beyond will only continue to fester. If it is not, then the EAC must take quick and decisive action to find new leadership for its executive position.

For the complete letter click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:


09-19-13: WMC: DUPLICITY – NPS gives no warranty … as to accuracy, reliability, completeness of data”


West Marin Citizen Guest Column: Duplicity

By Sarah Rolph

What a ray of sunshine the new NPS seal-count data provides. The latest report tells us that 2013 has been a great year for seals, with one of the highest counts ever for seal pups, and more seals in Drakes Estero than anywhere else in Point Reyes. That should alleviate the fears of anyone who might have gotten the impression that seals could be in danger from Drakes Bay Oyster Company.


…the Park Service’s seal-count report includes a disclaimer, saying that the data and related graphics “are not legal documents and are not intended to be used as such” and “The National Park Service gives no warranty, expressed or  implied, as to the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of these data.” 


This disclaimer isn’t found on any previous science reports from the Park Service at Point Reyes.

For the complete article, click on or copy and paste the below link into your web browser:

As Judge Paul Watford (an Obama appointee) noted in his powerful dissent, nothing “in the text” of the wilderness laws, or in the contemporaneous debate over those laws, supports the government’s current interpretation.“All indications are,” Judge Paul Watford wrote, “that Congress viewed the oyster farm as a beneficial, pre-existing use whose continuation was fully compatible with wilderness status.” In his view, the government has been “bizarrely” misinterpreting the wilderness laws since 2004. All three legislators actively involved when the wilderness laws were enacted — former Rep. Pete McCloskey, former Assemblyman Bill Bagley and former Rep. John Burton — have been saying this all along.Tellingly, the majority opinion never argues that the government’s current interpretation of the wilderness laws is correct. “Nor could it make that argument with a straight face,” wrote Judge Watford, given the “clear legislative history” supporting the oyster farm. 

Weather:   SAN RAFAEL, CA | Now: 68ºF | High: 76ºF | Low: 57ºF | 5-Day Forecast


Marin News

Marin Voice: Why Drakes Bay Oyster Co. continues to fight

By Peter Prows, Zachary Walton, and Ryan Waterman

Guest op-ed column

Posted:   09/13/2013 06:38:00 PM PDT

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09-12-13 WMC DBOC Case May Rise to Supreme Court, Excerpts from radio interview of Peter Prows on KWMR

Carpenter: ….The oyster company has asked for an injunction to stay in operation until the complete legal proceedings play out, correct?

Prows: It’s an important piece because, if the farm is forced to shut down while the lawsuit proceeds, that’s going to cause some real damage to the business, even if we’re ultimately successful. Legally it’s also important because to get a preliminary injunction, one of the things you have to show is that you are likely to prevail on the merits of the case. The majority didn’t think we were able to show that but Judge Paul Watford wrote the dissent and he was very strong. He thought we were likely to prevail on the merits of the case and former Secretary Salazar’s decision was “arbitrary and capricious.”

Carpenter: It’s not often that you see a dissent that’s so extremely strong.

Prows: It’s one of the strongest dissenting opinions I’ve ever read.

What’s really remarkable is, going back to 2004, after the Lunnys spent a couple hundred thousand dollars to invest and fix up the oyster farm, they got a letter and a memo from the Park Service saying that the wilderness laws, in particular the 1976 Point Reyes Wilderness Act, mandated that the Park Service not issue a new permit to the oyster farm when the existing permit expired in November of 2012. This is a legal position that the Park Service has now taken over the last 8 to 10 years. It always struck the Lunnys as strange.

They thought the Point Reyes National Seashore was set up to promote and preserve agriculture and aquaculture in West Marin, not to destroy it.

What’s remarkable about the dissent is that Judge Watford actually agrees with the Oyster company about the interpretation of the wilderness legislation for Point Reyes. He wrote: “All indications are that Congress viewed the oyster farm as a beneficial preexisting use whose continuation was fully compatible with wilderness status.” And, the most remarkable thing about this whole opinion is that the majority, … never actually disagreed with the dissent on the interpretation of the wilderness legislation. So, there’s really no question anymore that the Park Service has had the law wrong all along.

For the full transcript click on or copy and paste the link below into your web browser:



Scientists at Point Reyes National Seashore have for years claimed a correlation, if not a causal relationship, between increased shellfish harvest and decreased seal counts, while oyster farm advocates have blasted that idea. 

But the most recent National Park Service data, released after two separate monitoring periods this summer, are out of sync with the agency’s position—which was memorialized in the final Environmental Impact Statement that informed the federal government’s decision to shutter the farm last year. 

Seashore scientist Ben Becker said the preliminary data will be finalized in a harbor seal database expected to be completed and posted online this fall. Those data show that harbor seals are thriving along Marin’s coast this year, and nowhere are they happier than in Drakes Estero. 

Point Reyes Light

Seals thrive in estero in 2013

By Samantha Kimmey



09-05-13 Point Reyes Light: Appeal Denied DBOC presses for More Judges

Former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, the opinion read, relied on public policy undergirding the legislation and understood that he was not bound by any law. Drakes Bay was therefore not likely to prevail in its Administrative Procedure Act complaint, which holds that if an agency bases a decision on an incorrect legal interpretation of a statute, that decision is capricious and unlawful.

But the dissenting opinion by Judge Paul Watford said that the Secretary’s decision did indeed rely on a belief—an unfounded belief, he said—that the existence of the oyster farm violated the law, which means his decision was capricious and illegal. 

“[The Secretary] erroneously assumed that the oyster farm’s continued operation was ‘prohibited by the Wilderness Act.’ That in turn led him to conclude—again erroneously—that his decision to eliminate the oyster farm ‘effectuate[d]’ Congress’s intent as expressed in the Point Reyes Wilderness Act,” he wrote.

But Section 124, Judge Watford said, barred the Secretary from making his decision based on those factors. “Contrary to the majority’s assertion, the Secretary had no authority to rely on this misinterpretation of ‘Congress’s earlier expressed goal’ because the notwithstanding clause eliminated any such authority.”

He also said that the intention of the Wilderness Act was never to remove the oyster farm: “[A]ll indications are that Congress viewed the oyster farm as a beneficial, pre-existing use whose continuation was fully compatible with wilderness status.”

By Samantha Kimmey

For the full article, click on, or copy and paste the link below into your web browser:


From Judge Watford’s Opinion:


*          “…Drakes Bay is likely to prevail on its claim that the Secretary’s decision is arbitrary, capricious or otherwise not in accordance with law.”


*          “The sponsors of H.R. 8002 and S. 2472 were well aware of the oyster farm in Drakes Estero.  They nonetheless includes Drakes Estero within the wilderness designation because they did not view the farm’s operations as incompatible with the area’s wilderness status.  Commenting on the Senate bill, Senator Tunney left no doubt on that score, declaring, “Established private rights of landowners and leaseholders will continue to be respected and protected.  The existing agricultural and aquaculture uses can continue.””


*          “The Chair of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area Citizen’s Advisory Committee note that the oyster-farming operations ‘presently carried on within the seashore existed prior to its establishment as a park and have been considered desirable by both the public and park managers.”  He therefore recommended that specific provision be made to allow such operations ‘to continue unrestrained by wilderness designation.’”


*          “The view expressed by these speakers – that continued operation of the oyster farm was fully compatible with Drakes Estero’s designation as wilderness – was not some wild-eyed notion.  It was firmly grounded in the text of the Wilderness Act itself.”


*          “…all indications are that Congress viewed the oyster farm as beneficial, pre-existing use whose continuation was fully compatible with wilderness status.”


*          “In this case, no conflicting laws actually prevented the Secretary from issuing a permit to Drakes Bay.”


*          “It is the equities that carry the day in this case…and the equities strongly favor Drakes Bay.”

The Ninth Circuit Ruled, 2-1 against DBOC.  Kevin and Nancy Lunny have instructed the attorneys to prepare an appeal to the entire Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Judge Watford’s Dissenting Opinion is powerful, clear and compelling.  His Opinion is the reason DBOC is asking for an “en banc” legal review. 

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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).


08-25-13 Marin Voice: Up-to-date Eco Theory by Dr. J. Creque

Yet efforts now underway to restore oysters to San Francisco Bay, and estuaries around the world, offer pertinent examples of how shellfish, as ecosystem engineers, can improve water quality, add to structural diversity in the estuarine system, and play a critical role in enhancing ecosystem biodiversity, productivity, and resilience.


Aldo Leopold once argued that the first rule of intelligent tinkering was to save all the pieces. Saving the Drakes Bay Oyster Co. is one simple, sane step in that direction.

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08-18-13 AMY TRAINER / EAC linked to ATTEMPT TO


Last Tuesday, a seven-paragraph “article” was published by a New York internet-based group called Food World News (see below), declaring that the CA State Health Department ordered a recall of  DBOC oysters. 


After it appeared on the internet (and to find out what was going on), Kevin Lunny was immediately contacted and so was Sarah Rolph, and he immediately contacted Ginny Cummings, the oyster farm manager, who in turn, then immediately contacted the State Health Department. 


All were stunnedThere was no recallThere was no shut-downNo one got ill.  Health Department officials knew nothing about it. No warning against was issuedDBOC does not sell oysters to the Wegmans chain (on East Coast).

 The Reporter at Food World News claimed the story was triggered by a “Google Alert” which no one at DBOC received and so far, notwithstanding daily requests, the editor and reporter at Food World News have refused to provide.


Within a short time, EAC Executive Director, Amy Trainer, “tweeted” (under the name “ProtectPtReyes” that DBOC oysters “ma(k)ing us sick.”  After a demand from DBOC representatives, Trainer’s reckless statement was taken down.


There is no nice way to say or explain this:  Whatever the explanation, THIS WAS A SMEAR.  This was an attempt to undermine DBOC’s ability to conduct business.  This was an effort to drag the Lunny name through the gutter.  To declare it “disgusting” is a polite description


The highly respected Food Safety News (not to be confused with Food World News), as soon as they learned of the bogus story, conducted their own review and this am, published an editorial on-line repudiating the Food World News report. 

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08-17-13 Marin IJ Letter to the editor from Former Assemblyman Bill Bagley, author of Assembly Bill 1024 authorizing transfer of tidelands AND RETAINED RIGHTS TO FISH AND BY STATUTE, OYSTERS ARE FISH

“…there are two leases …. the now cancelled but litigated federal dry land lease used for processing and, separately, the existing and possibly controlling [CA] State Fish and Game Commission oyster lease authorizing the actual planting and harvesting of this seafood in the waters of Drakes Estero….

In 1965, I authored Assembly Bill 1024 to transfer the state-owned Point Reyes tidelands to the Park Service but, pursuant to state constitutional authority, we “reserved to the state the right to fish.”

By statute, oysters are fish.”

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“Drakes Bay Oyster Company filed a motion last week in Marin County Superior Court requesting alleged misrepresentations made by the California Coastal Commission are reconsidered before the court makes its final ruling.

‘Those allegations have been repeatedly proven false by the nation’s top scientists, and many are refuted by the Commission’s own reports,” Lunny said. “We respectfully request that the court consider all of the evidence before making its final decision.’”

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08-03-13 Marin Voice, Science shows oyster farm doesn’t harm estero’s ecology

by Dr. Corey Goodman

JOE MUELLER’S July 31 Marin Voice column (“Doing what’s right for the ecology”) is surprisingly devoid of facts. Almost everything in his column is contradicted by the scientific literature on Drakes Estero.

Mueller says oysters rob nutrients from marine wildlife. But a series of studies from UC Davis found just the opposite — marine invertebrates and fish are thriving in Drakes Estero. The National Marine Fisheries Service (responsible for protecting harbor seals under the Marine Mammal Protection Act) reported the seals are healthy and not being disturbed.

The National Academy of Sciences found no evidence for any major environmental impact of the oyster farm on Drakes Estero.

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08-01-13 West Marin Citizen Letter to the Editor by Sarah Rolph

An Egregious Record of Outrageous Accusations

“In a front-page story in the West Marin Citizen two weeks ago (“Water watchdog to sue oyster company,” July 18, 2013) Amy Trainer, executive director of the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin (EAC), is quoted as saying Drakes Bay Oyster  Company “…has an egregious record of non-compliance with state and federal environmental and coastal protection laws…”

Trainer claimed: “The Drakes Bay Oyster Company has failed to get the required permits and authorization from the Army Corps of Engineers, the California Coastal Commission, the National Park Service, and now from the Environmental Protection Agency.”

These statements are false and misleading.”

For the complete letter, click on, or copy and paste into your web browser, the link below:


08-01-13 Barrett, EAC Exec. Dir. ’86-’92: EAC HAS LOST OUR RESPECT

Point Reyes Light August 1, 2013, Letters To the Editor:

William Barrett, current resident of Inverness and former EAC board member and EAC executive director, 1986-92, in his letter to the editor stated:

“The arguments against the Drake’s Bay Oyster Company coming from EAC’s executive director, Amy Trainer, have been loud and ferocious. …  Jerry Friedman [EAC founder], who drafted the wilderness bill for Senator Phillip Burton, had also expressed his opinion that mariculture had been included under the broader term of agriculture as a protected entity in the park.

Scientific studies, despite the recognized flaws, continue to be touted by EAC as the truth. Inflammatory claims that the oyster farm is part of a larger Republican effort to gut the environment have been played out in the press. Suggestions that the Lunnys are part of a vast network of Koch-funded corporate evil-doers have been circulated. Really? Kevin and Nancy Lunny? Corporate evil-doers? Sheesh. Character assassination is never a good idea in a small town.

The EAC may not have lost its “vision” … but it has lost my respect, …. If Jerry were alive today, I believe he would be …feeling … disappointment and disgust with the current actions and words of the EAC. If I were a member, I would resign.”

EAC has lost our respect

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07-29-13 DBOC files Motion Correcting False Statements by CCC

Drakes Bay Oyster Files Motion Correcting

False Statements by Coastal Commission

California Coastal Commission Misrepresented Facts to Marin County Court


Inverness, Calif. (July 29, 2013) – Drakes Bay Oyster Company (DBOC) filed a motion in the Marin County Court today requesting that misrepresentations by the California Coastal Commission be reconsidered before the Court makes its final ruling. The motion clarifies facts about DBOC’s operations.

“These misrepresentations by the Coastal Commission are the same false charges that have been leveled for years by the Park Service,” said Kevin Lunny, DBOC. “Those allegations have been repeatedly proven false by the nation’s top scientists, and many are refuted by the Commission’s own reports. We respectfully request that the court consider all of the evidence before making its final decision.”

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07-26-13 Harper’s Editor & Author respond to flack from an anti-DBOC comment

26 July 26 2013, Harper’s Magazine posted an article written by Michael Ames titled, THE WEST COAST OYSTER WAR, (see below).

Ames, in the second to last paragraph of his story highlights the “…casual regard for the facts…”

The Point Reyes Seashore Lover, in a single comment to the Harper’s article, provoked the below Ames response and in so doing affirmed the key “casual regard for the facts” point made in his story.

Ames and his editor posted a response:

“I don’t usually weigh in on my own stories, but this particular commenter has made some accusations that need to be addressed.

1. Regarding PR: My editor and I worked on this article with total independence. It was not “whipped up” by a PR crisis firm. I did my research independently, sought out and interviewed the sources quoted independently, and was never contacted by anyone working in professional communications on behalf of the oyster farm. To suggest that either myself or Harper’s would run PR as independent journalism is false and misunderstands the point of what we do. In the context of this issue especially, where national news outlets have been misled by actual PR professionals to publish false talking points as facts, it’s also absurd.

2. Diane Feinstein is the farm’s main advocate in Washington. If she has become a tool of some vast right-wing conspiracy, it’s news to me.

3. Drakes Estero was not designated as wilderness by President John F. Kennedy. It was listed as “potential wilderness” by the (Ph)Bill Burton Wilderness Act of 1976.”

Here is the Post from Point Reyes Seashore Lover

“Apparently the author of this article couldn’t see thru the “ideological fog” long enough to actually discover the facts. It’s all very simple. A deal is a deal. The oyster company was told it would have to shut down. It agreed to that deal. And now, with the help of right-wing backers like Vitter and House Republicans, egged on by Fox News and with the legal assistance of Cause of Action (a property rights legal firm staffed by ex-Koch Brothers employees), it has hired a PR crisis communications director that whips up articles like these. This is a national seashore. And a wilderness area. Yet this corporation, that signed a deal to leave, wants to continue operating. The California Coastal Commission is among those who don’t find this notion romantic, and a court just ruled that it must comply with the Commission’s requirements to curb its plastics pollution, introduction of non-native Manilla clams, and remove its marine “vomit.” This is not some innocent farmer getting kicked off his land by big government; it’s someone who made a bad bet that he could continue operating in an area designated as wilderness by President John F. Kennedy and continue to pollute. Fortunately, the courts so far have sided with the Obama Administration, which has had the backbone to stand up to legislators who should know better. And as for the science, Mr. Goodman sound a lot like those who question climate change by citing false science that multiple agencies have routinely dismissed.”

If any of you are inspired to comment, the article can be found at the following link:

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7-26-13 Harper’s: The West Coast Oyster War

“The story of the Drakes Bay Oyster Company is at this point obscured by ideological fog. Even basic facts are being misrepresented. The environmental lobby insists, for example, that Drakes Estero will now become “the first marine wilderness area on the West Coast” outside of Alaska, a claim that has been repeated as fact by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, ABC and NBC affiliates in San Francisco, the local West Marin Environmental Action Committee, most national environmental organizations, and the Park Service itself. And yet according to the government’s own records, this isn’t true. As Salazar noted in his ruling, the Limantour Estero, which is adjacent to Drakes, was converted in 1999 “from potential to designated wilderness, becoming the first (and still only) marine wilderness on the Pacific coast of the United States outside of Alaska.”

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07-25-13 Point Reyes Light, Why I am Resigning from EAC & Sierra Club by Wigert

By Bill Wigert

I have been a member of the Sierra Club since 1970. As an attorney, I represented the organization pro bono in two environmental lawsuits. I joined the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin soon after it was formed. As an ardent environmentalist, I venerated both groups: their policies were fact and science-based, and the EAC achieved a unique cooperation between agricultural and environmental communities. Sadly, both organizations have strayed from their principles, and I am not going to renew my membership to either.

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07-18-13 SF Sentinel: Amy Trainer & EAC Discredited, Court Makes Favorable Judgment for DBOC

“Recently,  Amy Trainer, Director of the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin, has been  exposed in a series of false statements against Drakes Bay Oyster Co.  Trainer has issued a series of false news releases and made statements regarding  the scientific evidence about the benefits of oyster farming.  She and the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin, were also behind the false statements that the DBOC was being funded by the conservative Koch brothers.  It has been proven there was no tie or link between the Koch brothers and DBOC and Trainer and her environmental group have been discredited.”

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07-16-13 Marin Court Grants a “Motion to stay” pending actions by CCC against DBOC

The Marin Superior Court posted their decision on a ‘motion to stay’ the pending Coastal Commission actions against DBOC on July 16, essentially stating that further actions in the case will be held in abeyance until after the federal court decision on motions in the case brought by Drakes Bay Oyster Company against the National Park Service.  NPS has been trying to eliminate the oyster farm for almost a decade, using false science, fabricated claims and falsified data, which the Times has covered extensively since the beginning of the controversy in 2007.

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07-17-13 Russian River Times: CCC Gets Its Own Facts Wrong in … Hearing

 “Faber pointed out in the transcript of the recent Marin Superior Court hearing, that statement-after-statement made by the California Attorney-General’s office, representing the Coastal Commission, were patently false, and were contradicted by the CCC’s own record, well-known to them at the time.” 


The Russian River Times recently caught up with Phyllis Faber, one of the founding members of the California Coastal Commission board, who, along with the Alliance for Locally Sustainable Agriculture, has now sued her former organization for their actions against Drakes Bay Oyster Company DBOC and the Lunny family, who operate the historic oyster farm in Drake’s Estero at Point Reyes National Seashore.  Faber is a well-respected scientist for her work in marshland ecology, as well as an environmental icon, responsible for the development of Marin Agricultural Land Trust which has preserved in perpetuity over 30,000 acres of farmland Marin and has served as a model for land trust preservation everywhere.

Speaking of her vital work in the creation of the Coastal Commission, the late Peter Douglas, the first executive director of the Commission, praised Faber for her service. “Throughout the heat of political struggle, Phyllis maintained high standards of integrity and scientific honesty. Her compassion for other creatures with whom we share this planet was matched by her sensitivity to the needs of people and individuals with whom she came in contact. Whenever volunteers were needed in the course of the seven year campaign to enact California’s pioneering and bitterly fought over coastal protection program in the 1970’s, Phyllis was there ready, willing and able to do all she could to help the cause….”

“Faber’s stand for scientific and ethical integrity and preserving California’s coastline continues today.  She brought the lawsuit against the CCC with great reluctance, as the Coastal Commission has, in the past, been essential to the preservation of the coastline, but in the Drake’s Estero case, they failed to behave in a fair and equitable manner, becoming a law unto themselves, increasingly arbitrary, litigious and capricious. As she states, “If they continue to lose the trust of all Californians in their ability to fairly protect the public interest, we all lose.”


Faber continues to fight for science and integrity and coastal preservation.

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07-09-13 Posted on Facebook page of DBOC by Pepperhead

“The National Park Service that is spearheading the drive against any business on the coastline (it’s not just Drake’s Bay Oysters that has to worry, friend) is a gluttonous beast without shame or regard in its driving force to remove buildings and businesses, many of which hold as much historical value as any great landmark, and are testaments to families, communities and entire geographical areas that sprouted up around them, often creating ethnic micro-states that thrived in and of themselves and evolved into some of the most productive, pride driven and culturally rich areas we have in America. The ramshackle buildings that are being torn down at an alarming rate, with no public outcry welcome, or even possible, since most of it is done behind closed doors before anyone even knows it’s happening, are as historically important to us as Ellis Island or, more locally, Angel Island. There is no doubt in my mind that the NPS would not think twice about wiping the history of both of these places off the face of the waterlines they inhabit were it not for the great public backlash they would expect from such thoughtless, needless and entirely senseless disregard for the history of our country.”

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07-03-13 Point Reyes Light: Ingrid Noyes “Visit the (oyster) Farm Yourself”

I agree that it’s a good idea to ask ourselves what we want to pass on to future generations. I would like to be able to take my kids and grandchildren to the farm, enjoy some oysters and see our state’s only remaining oyster cannery and a small business providing local, sustainable food.


I agree that nature has a right to exist. When I hike the trails around the farm, I see nature existing. As far as exploiting wilderness, all farms essentially “exploit” wilderness. This is how we get our food. 


Yes, there should be no further development there. No, the creators of this potential wilderness area never intended to shut down the farm. Yes, the 100-year-old farm should be allowed to continue to produce the good food and jobs it provides.

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07-02-13 Sonoma Magazine: The Oyster & the Wilderness

In many ways, the Lunnys are as unlikely a couple as any you’ll find to be engulfed in the kind of knock-down-drag-out fight that has roiled the community and upset patterns of rural life. But the bitter feud and the often-vitriolic language that accompanies it haven’t embittered or discouraged them. “The beauty in all this is that we’re not in it alone,” Kevin tells me over lunch. “The community really cares and they’ve come to our aid.” Listening to him, I get the feeling that he’d much rather talk about the acidification of the Pacific Ocean, which threatens oysters from Washington to California, and about the coastal grasslands and prairies where his own herds of cattle graze—than argue about the facts in the court case or discuss the foul language that rural folks have hurled at one another. 

Still, Kevin enjoys talking about wilderness and the Point Reyes Peninsula, where he has lived and worked most of his life. The son of parents who were ranchers, he went away to college at UC Davis, and then came home because he loved the land and the coastline. Nancy shares that passion and she’s a powerhouse in her own right.

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06-25-13 Marin IJ: Dr. Creque Challenge to Huffman

“In the debate over whether 80 years of California Fish and Game Commission aquaculture leases in Drakes Estero should continue to provide 55 percent of California’s sustainable shellfish production capacity, perhaps, for the sake of our civil democracy, we can agree that any decision should be based upon verifiable facts, and the actual — rather than illusory — consequences of this choice.

Surely, as our representative, a Democrat, and an environmentalist, Rep. Jared Huffman, will support an open congressional airing of the scientific, legal and policy questions surrounding this matter, so seriously impacting the present, and future, well-being of his district.”

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06-20-13 Washington Examiner: Fed Officials Spinning Science to Suit Agenda

“Goodman found no support for the [NPS] claims. Instead, he said he discovered that NPS was pulling data from unrelated studies, including a 50-year-old work on oyster feces in Japan and another on jet skies in New Jersey, to justify its environmental analysis of the company.

“That is scientific misconduct, there is no question,” he said. “That is a pattern.”

Washington Examiner

Federal officials spinning science to suit agenda, critics claim

BY: MICHAL CONGER JUNE 20, 2013 | 3:32 PM

Topics: Watchdog Science and Technology

Cory Goodman, a neurobiologist and elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, took on the National Park Service in 2007 when a Marin County supervisor asked him to evaluate National Park Service claims that oyster farming was harming harbor seals and plant life in Drakes Bay.

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06-22-2013 Marin IJ OpEd: Science is on the Side of Open and Transparent Inquiry

“The biggest threat to the National Wilderness Act today is the prolonged smear campaign levied against our state-owned shellfish leases in Drakes Estero. By fabricating a case of environmental harm where none exists, by denying the state’s retained rights, including mineral rights and rights to its shellfish leases in Drakes Estero, by trampling upon the forty-year collaboration between the Park Service and the state Fish and Game Commission and shredding the National Environmental Policy Act, Richard and others undermine the legitimacy of the process by which segments of our national geography are designated “wilderness.”

If Huffman wishes to ensure the future of the Wilderness Act, as well as the Bay Area’s capacity to feed itself, he should declare his support for a bipartisan investigation into the science — and policy — used in decisions affecting shellfish production capacity in Drakes Estero.”

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Marin Readers’ Forum for June 23

From Marin Independent Journal readers

Posted:   06/22/2013 02:53:57 PM PDT


“Rep. Jared Huffman’s response to Corey Goodman’s request for transparency and truth is breathtakingly inadequate.First, acknowledging that the National Park Service has demonized a local family and overstated environmental harm, and then declining to do anything about it is like watching domestic abuse and dismissing it as a “family problem.”

Just what exactly does Rep. Huffman think his job is?”

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06-21-13 Marin IJ:Attorney Peter Prows rebuts Huffman OpEd

“… 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 the complete rebuttal, click on or copy and paste the link into your web browser:


06-21-13 Jeffrey Creque Rebuts Huffman OpEd in Marin IJ

While we may not be able to agree on what is knowledge versus what is orthodoxy, we must agree on the criteria by which that distinction is made if our democracy is to survive.  There may be no perfect Truth, but there are certainly claims that can be verified by empirical facts and those that cannot, and our democracy depends upon the capacity to recognize the difference.

Historical facts are subject to corroboration by an examination of the documentary record. Scientific fact is subject to validation through data and testable hypotheses.  Belief, on the other hand, can be neither confirmed nor falsified. American democracy is compromised when we substitute opinion and prejudice, however passionately held, for science and reason.

In the words of Chris Hedges,  “A populace deprived of the ability to separate lies from truth, that has become hostage to the fictional semblance of reality put forth by pseudo-events, is no longer capable of sustaining a free society.” Facts must prevail if freedom is to survive.

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06-12-13 Marin Voice: Huffman’s four mistakes on oyster farm science

By Corey Goodman
Guest op-ed column

Posted:   06/12/2013 04:00:00 AM PDT

“Huffman’s district is ground zero for scientific misconduct.”

THE Sonoma City Council last week voted unanimously in support of Drakes Bay Oyster Co. and asked Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, to support a bipartisan congressional investigation into the “questionable science” that misinformed Interior Secretary Salazar’s decision not to renew the farm’s permit.

Huffman immediately rejected the council’s request. In so doing, he made four substantive mistakes.

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06-04-2013 Fort Mill Times Sonoma City Council Calls for Investigation into NPS closure of DBOC

Sonoma City Council Signs Resolution Calling for Investigation into National Park Service Request for Closure of Drakes Bay Oyster Company

Sonoma City Council Supports Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s Efforts Towards Providing Local Jobs and Its Model for Sustainable Agriculture

Fort Mill Times, June 4, 2013

SONOMA, Calif. –

In a unanimous decision at last night’s City Council meeting, the Sonoma City Council approved a resolution that formally offers the Council’s support to save Drakes Bay Oyster Company and calls for the investigation into the National Park Service’s denial of Drakes’ permit to continue to operate at the onshore facilities at Drakes Estero in the coastal area of Marin County. In particular, the City Council commended the oyster farm for its efforts in maintaining its environmental and agricultural stewardship which presents an exemplary model of harmonious co-existence of sustainable agriculture and resource conservation.

The City Council specifically called on Assembly Member Marc Levine, Chair of the Select Agriculture and Environment Committee, to urge the State of California to assert its rights to continue to lease the water bottoms in Drakes Estero for shellfish cultivation which would include giving support to the Fish and Game Commission in its full jurisdiction. Additionally, the City Council requested Congressman Jared Huffman to support a bi-partisan Congressional investigation by the appropriate House Committee of Natural Resources, which he is a member of, into the questionable science that informed Secretary Salazar’s decision not to grant Drakes Bay a permit for the facilities in Drakes Estero.

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If I had been Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar? I would have granted the 10-year extension. I would have asked the scientists to continue their environmental studies, without pressure.I would have made such critics as Corey Goodman a full part of this process. And I would have asked Congress to make it clear that, if given a clean bill of health, oyster farming could continue.To my ear, it is not a discord in the special music of Point Reyes.

Marin Voice: Finding an oyster accord

By John Hart
Guest op-ed column

Posted:   05/31/2013 05:36:00 AM PDT

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05-30-2013 AMERICAN GRASSFED ASSN: Producer Profile: Drake’s Bay Oyster Company, California 

We don’t usually feature non-ruminant producers, but please bear with us on this one.

People have been farming oysters on Drake’s Bay for centuries, beginning with the indigenous Miwok tribe and continuing almost non-stop to the present day. But if the Department of the Interior has its say, that will come to a halt.

In the 1970s, they sold the dairy herd and moved into grassfed beef. Their pastures are certified organic, and the family is committed to good stewardship of one of California’s most beautiful and historically significant pieces of land.

In the 1960s, the National Park Service, with the support of several environmental groups and the state of California, bought the land from all of the ranchers on Point Reyes in order to curb the threat of impending rampant development and to create a national seashore and wilderness area. They also had the foresight to preserve the historical and cultural aspects of Point Reyes, and so allowed the ranchers and the Johnson’s Oyster Company to sign long-term leases, renewable in perpetuity.

Several years ago, the Lunnys bought Johnson’s Oyster Company, which had been farming oysters on the estero for more than 60 years. The place had become dilapidated and run down, and the Park Service required that they invest more than $300,000 in the property to restore the oyster beds, cannery, and buildings.

Today DBOC employs and houses thirty people and produces forty percent of the oysters consumed in California, both fresh and canned in the last remaining oyster cannery in the state. It’s the only one of the working farms on Point Reyes that’s open to the public, giving visitors the opportunity to learn about history, sustainable oyster farming, and the natural beauty of the place.

Oysters, because they’re filter feeders, improve water quality and create healthy habitats in lagoons and estuaries.They’re one of the few marine species that can be farmed sustainably. Life should be good for DBOC. But it’s not.

After a decade of wrangling and bad science, the Department of the Interior under Secretary Ken Salazar declined to renew the DBOC lease in December last year. The case is currently working its way through the court system, and if the Lunny family  loses, the closure of DBOC will have a devastating impact on the people who work and live there, on the sustainable seafood market in California, and on the lagoon itself, not to mention on the Lunnys.

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05-23-13 Plea to Overturn Salazar by Jorge Mata, 30-yr Worker at Drakes Bay Oyster Co in Marin Voice

Marin Voice: Point Reyes oyster farm decision hits home

By Jorge Mata
Guest op-ed column

Posted:   05/23/2013 06:00:00 AM PDT

Click photo to enlarge

Jorge Mata

“I AM a 30-year employee at Drakes Bay Oyster Co. in Point Reyes National Seashore.

Though there has been a lot in the news lately about the oyster farm, I don’t think that much has been said about the importance of the farm to its employees and what Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar’s wrong decision to close the farm would do to them.

Small businesses and jobs are an important part of the recovery of the economy in this country.

Thirty jobs will be lost if Secretary Salazar’s incorrect decision stands. We are also a community.

My wife Veronica and I are very grateful to have spent three decades living and working at the oyster farm. All of us at the oyster farm appreciate the improvements at the farm since the neighboring Lunny family took over responsibility from the former Johnson Oyster Farm in 2005.

Those of us living at the farm have also valued being able to raise our children in a safe place and to send them to good public schools in Marin County.

Our older children, Jorge and Ruby, grew up on the farm sharing friendships with the Lunny family triplets, Brigid, Patrick and Sean.

Our youngest daughter, Alexandra, is 9 years old and currently attends West Marin School.

Jorge, Ruby and 25 other hard working people are also employees of the oyster farm….

….We fear that we will be torn from our families, from our work and our children will be torn from their schools.

We worry that our families will be separated and we will be forced to live in unfamiliar and unsafe areas.

I speak for all the employees at the oyster farm when I say that Drakes Estero is our home.

Please help us stay home.”

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05-20-2013 NPS Supporters Misrepresent Scientific Facts in Letter to DOI Jewell

NPS Supporters Misrepresent Scientific Facts in Letter to Interior Secretary

Science and Environmental Impacts Come to Fore at Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Hearing

Inverness, California, May 20, 2013 — A rebuttal was filed today with Interior Secretary Jewell in response to a letter to the Secretary on May 16 from Environmental Action Committee of West Marin (EAC) Executive Director Amy Trainer.

“In her letter to the Secretary, Amy Trainer misrepresented every report she cited,” said Dr. Goodman, who filed the rebuttal. “This is not a case about a difference of opinions. Rather, this is a case about the fabrication of facts and a cover-up.”

These misrepresentations were intended to blunt a scientific misconduct complaint filed with Interior Secretary Jewell on May 13 alleging that both the National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Geological Service (USGS) knowingly fabricated harbor seal data in their reports. In the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), NPS claimed evidence of harbor seal disturbances by Drakes Bay Oyster Company (DBOC).

“The EAC continues to try to deceive the public and elected officials with misinformation,” said Dr. Goodman. “It is difficult for our community to have an informed and thoughtful discussion when EAC continues to put out statements that they know are incorrect and misleading.”

The so-called evidence of harbor seal disturbances by DBOC, as presented in the FEIS, was falsified. NPS based its claim upon analysis by an independent harbor seal behavior expert, Dr. Brent Stewart of Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute. But in contrast to what the NPS stated in the FEIS, Dr. Stewart twice found just the opposite, namely, no evidence of disturbances by DBOC skiffs.

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05-15-2013 Drakes Bay Oyster Company Answers Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Do environmentalists support the oyster farm?

Q: Does oyster farming provide positive ecological services that help the environment?

Q: NPS claims that DBOC harms birds, water, and wildlife—is that accurate?

Q: Under California and Federal Agreements, is DBOC allowed to farm past 2012?

Q: Can DBOC stay without setting a bad precedent against wilderness?

Q: Are the oyster farmers careful not to disturb the seals and other wildlife?

Q: What is the situation regarding the original agreement between NPS and DBOC?

Q: Who is supporting DBOC in its lawsuits?

Q: What is the current status of the federal lawsuit challenging Secretary Salazar’s denial of a new Special Use Permit to Drakes Bay Oyster Company?

Q: Who supports DBOC in Congress?

For the answers to these questions, click on the link below or copy and paste the link into your web browser:


05-14-2013 Russian River Times: “What lies in Drake’s Estero”

Journalism is supposed to be the first draft of history, not the first rewrite of press releases and sound bites. In recent weeks, some journalists reporting on the Estero controversy say ‘they would not touch the science,” not realizing the irony that they are essentially saying they are reporting without knowledge. The word ‘science’ itself comes from the Latin scientia, ”to know.”


05-14-2013 Greenwire, by Emily Yehle USGS Rushed report and misrepresented biologist’s findings:

“The U.S. Geological Survey published a report that misrepresented a biologist’s findings, lending support to the National Park Service’s claims that a California oyster farm disturbs nearby seals.

USGS is the latest agency to get sucked into the years-long controversy over whether the National Park Service manipulated science to shore up public support for closing Drakes Bay Oyster Co. In the latest twist, documents show USGS reported that a series of photos linked oyster boats to disturbed seals — when, in fact, a marine biologist had told the agency that the photos showed no such link.”

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05-11-2013 Jeannette Pontacq in a letter to the editor of the Marin IJ in response to Lynn Hamilton of Occidental, who wants to ‘save’ the Point Reyes ‘wilderness from our local oyster company on Drake’s Estero (May 11 letter to the editor), I would like to respectfully add …

There is not one millimeter of true wilderness anywhere in the Point Reyes National Park.  It has millions of visitors each year, in all seasons, and maintains trails and campsites throughout. It is a wonderful place, but not wilderness. It is a large park adjacent to a huge urban corridor. Having hiked in wild places all over the world, I am continuously amazed at anyone thinking one can just make ‘wilderness’ out of whole cloth.
For the full text of the letter, click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:


05-10-2013 Russian River Times – What Was The Deal? by Sarah Rolph

“The story told by anti-oyster farm activists is that the Lunnys reneged on a deal. These activists have linked that story with another story about “wilderness,” claiming that the public was promised Drakes Estero would be wilderness in 2012. In fact, it’s the Park Service and those activists that changed the deal on the Lunnys and the public.

In 1976, Congress considered designating Drakes Estero as “wilderness.” But the Department of Interior and the Park Service told Congress that Drakes Estero could not become a wilderness until California gave up its rights to lease Drakes Estero. Congress agreed, and it removed the wilderness designation for Drakes Estero in the 1976 Point Reyes Wilderness Act. Legally, Drakes Estero cannot become wilderness until California gives up its rights (which it has not done).

For more than 30 years after 1972, the Park Service supported continued and even expanded oyster farming in perpetuity. For reasons the Park Service has not explained, however, its position changed completely after the Lunnys purchased the oyster farm in early 2005.”

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04-08-13 Marin IJ Editorial:

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission will begin the largest oyster replenishment program in the state’s history. The $2 million effort will plant oyster shells on state-owned beds in the James, the York, the Rappahannock and other places in the bay to create habitats conducive to the nourishment of oysters. Gov. Bob McDonnell asked for the appropriation; the General Assembly approved his request. The 2013 assembly session proved an excellent one for the bay.

Recent years have reported gratifying news regarding the bay’s oysters, which are staging a comeback. Aquaculture is thriving in the bay and along its tributaries. Smart policies by the state and by private concerns contribute to the restoration. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation has been an effective advocate for the bivalves. A healthy bay produces flourishing oyster populations; flourishing oyster populations promote the bay’s health.

For the entire editorial: And so to beds, click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:


04/19/13 Phyllis Faber letter to Gov. Jerry Brown:

Today ALSA (Alliance for Local Sustainable Agriculture) and I have filed a lawsuit against the California Coastal Commission on behalf of Drakes Bay Oyster Company for actions that do not conform to provisions of the Coastal Act of 1976 nor to its spirit. This is an extraordinarily painful step for me to take as I was co-chair of the Marin County effort to support Proposition 20 that created the California Coastal Commission in 1972 and served on the North Central Regional Commission for eight years, as chair for two years. I have been a strong supporter since the Commission was formed forty years ago. The Coast of California is clearly better off with the coastal management the Commission has provided.

I am an 85 years old, white haired biologist. Professionally, I am an editor for Natural History Books for UC Press. In Marin County, I was included in a small group on whom was bestowed the title of “Environmental Elder.” I wear it with pride. For more than 40 years – I remain an unabashed supporter of the California Coastal Act.

Today, however, in West Marin in their recent action against the Drakes Bay Oyster Company, the Commission has “lost its way.” It has engaged in an inexplicable campaign – exceeding its charter – to bureaucratically smother – to drive out of business — a working family farm, the Drakes Bay Oyster Company.

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03/23/13 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

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03/20/2013 Ca. Farm Bureau Federation President’s Message: Why the DBOC Case Matters.

For Farm Bureau, the case has implications beyond Drakes Estero.
Half of the land in California is owned by the federal or state government. Rural communities, where many Farm Bureau members live and work, depend on multiple use of these lands. National parks and wilderness areas operate under land-management rules that allow for human presence and use, even when the primary mandate is for preservation and environmental protection.
To ban an operation such as Drakes Bay Oyster Co. on the ideological belief that it should not exist in a national park or wilderness area—despite evidence that the farm provides important economic, cultural and social benefits—sets an awful precedent for everyone who believes that humans and nature can and must co-exist sustainably.
For the full text of his message, click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:

Farm and Foodshed Report

With your host: Robin Carpenter

The crucial stories impacting our local farms and foodshed

“Fresh Support for Drakes Bay Oyster Company” – episode aired March 18, 2013

** Listen online:  **

Nancy McDonough, General Counsel for the California Farm Bureau Federation

“We very much endorse and advance a collaborative approach… It’s so important that we’re able to achieve environmental protection at the same time as we have agricultural production. We’re always looking for places to achieve that…. I think if anything hits the target of the sweet spot, the Drakes Bay Oyster Company does.”

Patricia Unterman, owner of the Hayes Street Grill and a pioneer of the sustainable seafood movement in restaurants:

“We’ve really seen a revolution in the way people are eating from the sea now. And that’s what makes the Drakes Bay oysters so valuable to us. My goodness, here’s a product that’s beautifully raised and really delicious. We pan-fry them, and they’re just so crisp and delicious and sweet. Here’s a product that is being harvested an hour away from the restaurant and the notion that we couldn’t get them anymore is devastating and terrible. It runs against the whole food movement that developed over these past 30 years.”

Jeff Creque an Agroecologist who is on the board of the Alliance for Local and Sustainable Agriculture of Marin County:

“That’s really the core of this whole issue: how do we care for our environment and also provide ourselves with the things that we need? And that’s the challenge for me in my work is always looking for that sweet spot between environmental protection and  agricultural production. And the beauty of this concept [collaborative management] is that it really helps us look for those answers. It’s where we are I think globally now. We have a literal massive global crisis on our hands, and yet there’s 7 billion of us on the planet and we need to be fed and clothed. How do we do that? How do we weigh those, not just weigh those in a trade-off context, but is there a way we can actually combine those two realities in a way that can actually benefit both the environment and our needs as human beings in the planet?”

Click here to listen to the radio show online:

KWMR, a West Marin community radio station, airs a weekly show called The Farm and Foodshed Report. On Monday, March 18th, host Robin Carpenter brought together three of the “friends” who were part of an Amicus or Friends of the Court brief submitted in support of the Drake’s Bay Oyster Farm on March 13th.  The “Three Amigos” on the show are Patricia Unterman, owner of the Hayes Street Grill and a pioneer of the sustainable seafood movement in restaurants, Nancy McDonough, General Counsel, California Farm Bureau Federation and Jeff Creque an Agroecologist who is on the board of the Alliance for Local and Sustainable Agriculture of Marin County (ALSA). This diverse group talked in an exciting and fresh new way about the crucial role Drake’s Bay Oyster Company plays both locally and beyond. It is clear that they came together because as stated in the brief, “There is no single voice that can speak for the “public interest” in keeping the Drakes Bay Oyster Farm open…”  This show is well worth your time to hear some new perspectives.

To listen the program and read more, click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:


03-17-13 Marin IJ: Harmonic Convergence for Point Reyes Oysters

The Park Service’s own publication, “Stewardship Begins With People,” [NPSG_999_D1963_selected pages] effectively and passionately embraces — and justifies — renewing Drakes Bay Oyster Co.’s lease.

“Stewardship” presents a blueprint for “advancing innovations in collaborative conservation for the stewardship of our national system of parks and other special places” by highlighting successful examples of places, people and businesses long imbedded in national parks and nearby agricultural communities. Each is a poster example of sound, time-honored mixed use of park lands.

In a prior edition now out of print and no longer Web-accessible, “Stewardship” featured the Lunny Family Farm and its wise diversification into oysters.

Pages 4, 20, 30 and 32 are particularly poignant and speak to the Park Service’s policy of exploring creative ways to “re-establish a connection — between parks and living cultures; between public lands and the stewardship of farms and forests; between people and the food they eat; and between park visitors, communities and a more sustainable future.”

To read the full article click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:


03/15/13 DBOC Attracts Support from Restauranteurs (Chez Panisse’s Alice Waters)

“Interior is making its best effort to flat out kill this oyster farm and its jobs by using misleading science and ignoring economic impacts,” Sen. David Vitter, R-La., one of the lead sponsors — 22 other Republicans have signed onto the bill — wrote in a statement to the Independent Journal. “My bill would implement a good first step to letting the Drakes Bay workers continue working.”

To read the full article click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:


03/14/13 Nat’l Pks Traveler: Renowned Chef, Farm Bureau Support DBOC

3/14/13 National Parks Traveler

Alice Waters, a chef renowned for her insistence on the freshest organically grown and locally produced ingredients, has signed on to a “friend of the court” brief in support of an oyster company trying to hold on to its operations at Point Reyes National Seashore on California.

To read the full article click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:


3/14/13 Press Democrat: Chef Alice Waters, Sonoma Farm Bureau, & others Back DBOC

Famed Berkeley chef Alice Waters and the Sonoma County Farm Bureau filed a federal court brief Thursday supporting Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s battle to stay in business in Point Reyes National Seashore.

Their 29-page “friend of the court” brief opposed the National Park Service’s order to shut the oyster farm on Drakes Estero, asserting the move is “inconsistent with the best thinking of the modern environmental movement.”

To read the full article click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:

03/14/13 E&ENews PM 

Farm groups, businesses back Calif. oyster farm’s bid to stay at national seashore

A coalition of local businesses and agriculture interests yesterday came out in support of a California oyster farm slated for closure in Point Reyes National Seashore.

In the first of what is likely to be many legal briefs on both sides to be filed ahead of a May hearing with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the coalition said it supports the Drakes Bay Oyster Co.’s case for an injunction that would allow it to remain open while a lawsuit against the Interior Department is settled.

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03-07-13 Joan Chevalier in Range Magazine:

I write about the colonial attitude of America’s large environmental organizations toward rural Americans.

“Anthropologists call this reterritorialization when a dominant culture, wanting to take over a subordinate culture, tells itself a pretty little story about its own heroism in saving the savage wrong-headed natives from themselves.  The message the natives hear is:  “You can either make a living on our terms or you can disappear.”

The will to make rural Americans disappear is no where so well demonstrated as in a second article in Range magazine’s Spring issue, “Shell Game on Drakes Estero” by Carolyn Dufurrena. (  Those of you who are members of the Sierra Club should resign immediately.  The Sierra Club (whose name is anathema in rural America) has led a campaign of misinformation, in league with the National Park Service, against a small oyster farm in California, all in the name of “wilderness.” …..  The levels of betrayal here are Dickensian.

To read the full article click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:


02-21-13 75-page report details misconduct – performance & execution of investigations under Mary Kendall.

02-21-13 “House Natural Resources Committee… released a scathing 75-page report detailing misconduct in the performance and execution of IG investigations under the four-year tenure of “Acting” IG – Mary Kendall….

What is so striking – the categories of issues identified in this House Committee Report (having nothing to do with NPS at Point Reyes) are almost identical to the suite of issues involving NPS science at Drakes Estero – unfinished IG reports, gross errors, glaring omissions, significant misrepresentations, altered data, missing emails – and the list goes on. “


This is the story of TWO REPORTS – one from House Natural Resources Committee (just released) AND the second, a new Inspector General’s Report, prepared by the OIG under DOI IG Mary Kendall, on NPS science at Point Reyes/Drakes Estero (released in early February).

For more on this, click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:


02-14-13 Pt Reyes Light: Coastal Commission Trumped Up Claims Against DBOC

“For years, NPS has made false claims of DBOC harm to the environment.  The 2009 NAS review found that the Park Service had “selectively presented, overinterpreted, or misrepresented the available scientific information on DBOC operations by exaggerating the negative and overlooking potentially beneficial effects” – damning language coming from scientists, who are famously conservative about such matters.  The Department of Interior Inspector General reported in March 2011 that it found the Park Service staff at Point Reyes guilty of “misconduct [that] arose from incomplete and biased evaluation and from blurring the line between exploration and advocacy through research,” and that “responses from NPS employees reveal a collective but troubling mindset.” 

That didn’t stop NPS from including the same false claims, and more, in their EIS—but that document was found to be so lacking in substance by the National Academy’s 2012 review that it has now been effectively discarded.  Thus the need for something to reinforce the false narrative.

Marin County supervisor and CCC vice-chair Steve Kinsey voted for the Order because he found it technically correct, given that the CDP isn’t official.  But even so, he calls the situation “morally disturbing,” saying the CCC “repeated the same disproven assertions that the operation was harming harbor seals and eelgrass” NPS has made.  Says Kinsey, “CCC staff chose to portray the Lunnys as irresponsible operators to aid and abet the Park Service’s myopic interest in terminating the lease. Given the unequivocal support of aquaculture written into the Coastal Act and the specific support in Marin’s Local Coastal Program, I am deeply disappointed in the staff’s attitude and complicity with the NPS.”

The desire to remove DBOC flies in the face of every county, state, and federal policy about oyster aquaculture.  Oyster farming is known to help the environment, as noted above by the NAS; this is of course why oyster restoration projects are under way all over the world.  The Marin County planning documents call for support of aquaculture, the PRNS General Management Plan supports it, and even the CCC charter, the Coastal Act says “aquaculture is a coastal-dependent use which should be encouraged to augment food supplies.”

Something is very wrong here.”

To read the full article click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:


02-14-13 NothBayBiz article:

Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s Royal Shucking by NPS

…the Park Service was a party to reports that doctored the science, shaded the truth or spun the data regarding how the oyster business negatively affected the park. The reports were designed to influence public opinion and to paint the oyster operation as being bad for the environment or poor stewards of the Estero. While it was eventually acknowledged that the reports were flawed, the damage was done.


The White House is about small business…mostly. The Obama administration has spent plenty of time talking about small business and its role in restoring the economy. But in this case there were 30 people pink slipped when Salazar put the hammer to Drakes Bay.

Bill Meagher
Columnist: Bill Meagher

To read the full article click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:


02-12-13 National Grange, the nation’s oldest agricultural organization,blog posting response(s) to National Park Service and Ken Salazar’s decision to oust Drake’s Bay Oyster Company

“Dig deeper and you will see that it is… MUCH MORE about ignoring the intent of the original law, ignoring good science, exploiting tax dollars,

and having federal. government ignoring and overriding … your state rights;

 in short, decisions weren’t made on common-sense facts and figures and the removal of the farm will greatly hurt the community….

… this isn’t like fighting a big box company that would put the small shops out of business….

the oyster farm is one of the keystone farms out in the Pt. Reyes area and allows for many of the local businesses and restaurants to thrive because of the farm’s existence.

  • If you believe in sustainable farming,
  • if you support low-carbon footprint farming to help mitigate climate change,
  • if you understand the important role of oysters in an eco-system
  • if you further understand the important position that each player has to keep a small community healthy and happy ,-
  • then you understand that saving this farm is not simply ‘about a business’.

If instead ‘environmentalist emotion’ tugs harder at you heartstrings

[If] your ‘trust in the government runs stronger than the truth…then unfortunately you are looking at the situation with an unbalanced and unclear viewpoint.”

To read the full article click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:


02-06-13 National Grange, America’s Oldest agricultural organization sends letter of support of DBOC to Obama and asks that Salazar’s decision be overturned.

 “This farm and other such oyster farms have environmental benefits for the eco-system and that is why the federal government presently spends millions of taxpayer dollars to help restore oysters and shellfish in numerous areas in the United States, including but not limited to the Gulf of Mexico, New England Coast, the Chesapeake Bay and all the way to the Pacific Northwest as filter feeders of our waters….…Even as far from California as we are here in Washington D.C., we can envision the considerable negative layers unfolding which would not go unnoticed if Secretary Salazar’s decision is followed through.  As just one example, the agricultural runoff into the Drakes Estero from the remaining agricultural operations that were spared former Secretary Salazar’s decision will not be filtered once the oysters are forcibly removed…We ask that you urgently consider overturning former Secretary Salazar’s misguided decision and help bring back a more peaceful integrated decision which highlights sustainable, environmentally friendly and low carbon footprint agriculture rather than tossing it aside.  The wilderness area of Pt. Reyes and the Lunny’s sustainable, small family farm can certainly co-exist, as they have done for nearly a hundred years.”To read the full article click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:************************************************************************

02-09-13 Kirk MacKenzie, founder of Defend Rural America, with  2,000 members in California and Oregon, and a national reach of over 45,000, writes:

“Having evaluated the so-called “scientific” arguments made in favor of destroying the Klamath River Dams and Drakes Bay Oyster Farm, I and other DRA members conclude these arguments are fraudulent. There is already substantial, credible, and documented scientific analysis provided by Dr. John Menke, Dr. Paul Houser, Dr. Corey Goodman, and others that exposes the information is being intentionally falsified to justify a pre-determined outcome irrespective of the truth or the people.


Continued use of the discredited “science” to justify the destruction of these dams would, in my opinion, be actionable. Individuals could and should be held liable for actual and punitive damages. Fraud defeats any claimed shield of immunity.”

To read the full article click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:


Posted by Communications Staff in Blog on January 23, 2013 12:30 pm

The decision last November by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar not to renew The Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s lease was based on a number of inaccurate and misleading claims. Here are five myths that the Secretary, his supporters, and the National Park Service use to justify the oyster farm’s eviction from Drakes Estero:

To read the full article click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:


01-23-13 Huffington Post

Sustainable Agriculture, Wilderness and DrakesBay Oysters: The Role of Science in Policy

Posted: 01/23/2013 6:47 pm, by Peter Gleick

In the past couple of years, a debate in Northern California over wilderness protection, sustainable agriculture, and the integrity of science has spiraled into the dirt. The fight is over whether to continue to permit a small privately managed oyster farm, the Drakes Bay Oyster Company, to continue to operate inside what is now the Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County, California. The oyster operation predates the Park, having been in Drakes Estero for nearly a century, but the Estero is now eligible for wilderness status. Supporters of wilderness believe the oyster farm is an incompatible use and should be closed. Supporters of local sustainable agriculture believe the farm should remain because of its history, benign environmental impacts, and role in the local economy. In late 2012, after an extensive debate marked by disturbing scientific misconduct and abuse, local acrimony among long-time friends, and controversy among federal and state agencies, Interior Secretary Salazar ruled that the farm should be closed, giving the owners a mere 90 days to remove their operations, fire their employees, and abandon the farm.

Too often in the past few years bad science, or indeed a philosophy antithetical to science, has been pushed by special interests and some policymakers. This isn’t new — there is a long history of pseudoscientific or downright anti-scientific thinking and political culture — ironic, given how much founding fathers like Benjamin Franklin valued science.

Good science should have played a key role in the DrakesBay debacle, and open community discussion should have as well. But we didn’t get good science. Instead, the National Park Service, the Department of the Interior (DoI), and some local environmental supporters (with whom I often have strong common cause) manipulated, misreported and misrepresented science in their desire to support expanded wilderness. In an effort to produce a rationale to close the farm, false arguments were made that the farm damaged or disturbed local seagrasses, water quality, marine mammals and ecosystem diversity. These arguments have, one after another, been shown to be based on bad science and contradicted by evidence hidden or suppressed or ignored by federal agencies. The efforts of local scientists, especially Dr. Corey Goodman, professor emeritus from both Stanford and Berkeley and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Science, were central to revealing the extent of scientific misconduct. Reviews by independent scientists and now confirmed by investigations at the Department of Interior and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences show that arguments of environmental harm from the oyster farm were misleading and wrong. One of those reviews criticized the “willingness to allow subjective beliefs and values to guide scientific conclusions,” the use of “subjective conclusions, vague temporal and geographic references, and questionable mathematic calculations,” and “misconduct [that] arose from incomplete and biased evaluation and from blurring the line between exploration and advocacy through research.” The review by the National Academy of Sciences concluded that the Park Service:

selectively presented, over-interpreted, or misrepresented the available science on the potential impacts of the oyster mariculture operation.

In this case, I believe the decision to close the farm was the wrong one, done for the wrong reason, and it should be overturned. Supporters of the farm are still fighting, and it is possible that there will be a change of heart at either the federal level, or in the courts.

To read the full article click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:


01-23-13 Russian River Times: Salazar Decision Hides from History and Abandons Science

After seven years of repeated National Park Service (NPS) allegations that Drakes Bay Oyster Farm harmed the environment, the multimillion-dollar NPS Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) created to support those claims was quietly abandoned by Interior Department Secretary Salazar and NPS Director Jarvis, raising fresh questions about the propriety of the process.  Secretary Salazar claims his decision against the oyster farm was based on sound legal interpretation, yet he cited no legal opinion or analysis document. The Salazar decision was a complete reversal of established NPS policy.  And it directly contradicted previous NEPA assessments of the very same oyster farm.

To read the full article click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:


01-05-2013 Hosted by Paul Gigot, the Pulitzer-Prize winning editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal, the weekly half-hour program “Journal Editorial Report” features newsmakers and members of the Journal editorial page staff debating the major economic, political and cultural issues of the day.

This week’s show, Hits & Misses: 1/5/13, features Daniel Henninger, deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page. He is the third to speak on the program. His topic is Ken Salazar shutting down Drakes Bay Oyster Company.

His piece begins one minute and three seconds (01:03) into the less than two-minute segment. (You can advance directly to his segment by using your mouse pointer and the progress bar, or just wait until the preceding two pieces finish.)

Click on, or copy and paste, either link below to be taken directly to the “Hits & Misses: 1/5/13” segment of the Journal Editorial Report

Jan 5, 2013 1:42

Hits & Misses: 1/5/13


At Sonoma’s Meritage Martini Oyster Bar & Grille, for example, the eatery faces having to order all of its oysters from Washington state, says executive chef-proprietor Carlo Cavallo. Mr. Cavallo says he gets his local oysters from Drakes and tried to arrange a new supply from the other major producer, Hog Island Oyster Co., but was turned down.

“There’s the cachet of not being able to eat the local oyster,” Mr. Cavallo says. “It makes us look like idiots.”


Scramble for Oysters as Farm Faces Closure

By Jim Carlton, 2 January 2013, 20:30 GMT, The Wall Street Journal Online, Copyright 2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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In 1976 Congress established the Point Reyes National Seashore that encompasses this area. Several local farms were designated ‘historic’ and, along with the oyster operation, were allowed to stay. West Marin has been at the forefront of sustainable farming methods for decades and continues this nature friendly industry today. As stated, DBOC is also an adherent to environmentally sensitive farming methods. However, an overzealous group of environmentalists have used misleading and misrepresented scientific studies to convince the National Park Service to terminate DBOC’s lease this past November. This is not only a shame, as a traditional family business with about 30 workers will be shut down, but an environmental faux pas as well. DBOC is the only California oyster farm and produces almost half of what the state consumes. The demand is not going to go away. The replacement proteins will now be shipped in from Asia or the east coast. What kinds of carbon footprint conditions were considered in this move?

A Left Coast View

By John Blanchard

Pacifica Tribune Columnist

Posted:   01/01/2013 05:02:39 PM PST

Updated:   01/01/2013 05:02:40 PM PST

To read the full article click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:



I can … understand why this was a no-brainer for national environmental organizations. In calling for the closure of the oyster farm, they were advocating for an important principle: Whenever possible, potential wildernesses should receive full wilderness protection, and commercial enterprises removed.

In this case, however, the principle is misaligned with the place. For all of the reasons alluded to … — ecological, cultural, educational, recreational — it doesn’t make sense to consider Drakes Estero a wilderness area.

I worry about what this disconnect between the ideal and the specific reveals of the environmental movement. The twentieth century activists who saved Point Reyes knew well that conservationism, in its best sense, is all about a love of place. Affection for place is how the ur-pastoralist Wendell Berry explains it. At the risk of being too cynical, I don’t see much love of place in the behavior of national environmental groups involved in this fight. Not when an overwhelming percentage of Marin residents — many, if not most of them, committed environmentalists — support the oyster farm. Not when I happen to know that the conservation director of a Big Green group advocating for the oyster farm’s closure has never stepped foot in Point Reyes National Seashore.•  Not when I consider the wall of silence (see here and here and here) that greeted the Interior Department’s move — just two days before Salazar’s Drakes Estero decision — to open 20 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas leasing. The whole affair strikes me as an easy way for national environmental organizations to win some points with a largely symbolic victory and also, on the flip side, a relatively easy way for the Obama Administration to throw environmentalists a bone.

Latest News

In Defense of Drakes Bay Oyster Company

BY JASON MARK – DECEMBER 18, 2012Follow Jason Mark on Twitter

Field Notes from Point Reyes National Seashore

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North Bay / Marin | U.S. | Environment & Forest Defense | Labor & Workers

More on Drakes Bay Oyster Company

by D. Boyer
Sunday Dec 16th, 2012 10:52 AM

Drakes Bay Oyster Company Special Use Permit Environmental Statement contradicts actual kayakers experience’s with that company on Drakes Bay.

After publishing the first piece about the Drakes Bay Oyster Company, I discovered new information in regards to Kayakers comments about the existence of that company in Drakes Bay. In a statement released by the 3 local kayaking companies there appears to be all positive comments about the existence of the Drakes Bay Oyster Company in Drakes Bay. As a matter of fact the three top kayaking companies in the area, have stated that Draft Environmental Impact Statement did not accurately reflect their experiences with the DBOC. The impact statement indicates that the wilderness area is disrupted by the pneumatic tools and or powerboats, but representatives from those kayak companies state that the existence of the Drakes bay Oyster company adds to the wilderness experience instead of impacting them negatively.

To read the full article click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:


12-16-12 Kevin Lunny, in a follow up email to Michael Zwerling, owner of KSCO News Talk Radio 1080, and host of “Saturday Special”, where he and Dr. Corey Goodman were guests on 12-15-2012, points out yet another case of Selective Omission [by wilderness activists].


The wilderness activists gave you a quote from the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees to put on your website.  They left out the paragraph just before the section they gave to you, it reads:

“Coalition chair, Maureen Finnerty said, “This decision is a clear affirmation that decisions within the areas of the National Park System must be based on accurate fidelity to the law, the best available sound science and scholarship, and in the long term public interest. Secretary Salazar has clearly placed resources stewardship ahead of the narrow commercial interests of the farm’s operator. This is a win-win for the American people.”

As you know, we agree that the decisions must be based on “the best available sound science and scholarship”.  Perhaps Maureen Finnerty actually believes the Secretary’s decision meets this standard.  I believe that Amy, Neal and Gordon know full well that it does not.  These activists have been deeply involved in this issue for years.  I believe Amy, Neal and Gordon know full well that Salazar violated this critical sound science standard and violated the law by cherry picking which laws applied to his decision and which ones he chose to ignore.

For the full letter and the attachment, click or copy and paste the link below into your web browser:



courtesy of cartoonist George Russell, Salazar’s Oyster Nightmare

George Russell: Oyster nightmare

Posted:   12/15/2012 09:42:22 AM PST


Listen to AM 1080, KSCO News Talk Radio Saturday, 12-15-12, ten AM to noon Pacific Time – live stream at

His guests will be Dr. Corey Goodman, the NAS Scientist who uncovered the scientific misconduct by the NPS, and Kevin Lunny, owner of DBOC, me, and others.
Late last week, I contacted the owner of KSCO 1080 AM radio station out of Santa Cruz, Michael Zwerling. He immediately made a date to tour Drakes Bay Oyster Company with me on Tuesday, 12-11-12.

As a result of what he saw and heard, he is dedicating the entire two hours of his Saturday 12-15-12 show to the fight to save DBOC.

Tune in Saturday, Call in with your questions, or comments.

An archive of the program will be available on their website.


Jane Gyorgy


12/10/2012, 7:14 p.m. ET, Wall Street Journal Welcome to the Salazar Wilderness

Shame on the Interior Department for trying to drum a family-owned enterprise out of business.

“The Lunny family, which has made major improvements to the farm operation it took over in 2004, has been hounded for years by a National Park Service with a vendetta so chilling that any rancher on federal lands should be alarmed. Goaded by a clutch of environmental groups, the Park Service has resorted to tactics that might have come straight from Nixon’s dirty-tricks department. For instance, the Park Service alleged that the farm’s oyster boats disturbed the quiet of the area, but the measurements used were revealed to have been taken in New Jersey—and involved jet skis.”

To read the full article click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:

I was bcc’d on an email to the Sierra Club sent at 9:44 AM 12-11-12
Some excerpts here:

Dear Matt,

Thank you for your email reminding me it is year end, and time to make tax deductible donations to non-profits that do “good”.


NOT ONLY will I never give to the Sierra Club again, but I will campaign against the organization for the rest of my life!

 …I have removed myself from your subscription service, and I am recommending that all the true conservationists and social activists in my network give any planned year-end Sierra Club tax deductible donations to Drakes Bay Oyster Company of Point Reyes Station, CA 94956….

THE Sierra Club has replaced the hopes and dreams of a blessed Christmas with the grim reality of what a lump of coal is worth: a truly dismal and hungry New Year for the 30 employees of Drakes Bay Oyster Company and their extended families, as well as the local businesses who depend on local dollars….

Perhaps Sierra Club will join in helping the community recover from the loss of the most environmentally conscious, small scale oyster company on the Pacific Coast that was the core of the West Marin Local, Sustainable, Organic Foodie movement by sending an apology and donation to the Drakes Bay Oyster Company to help them support the hard working and long-dedicated employees who have already told their kids “Sorry, no money for Christmas this year.” 


M Ann Miller

5th Generation Farmer

Lifelong Conservationist

Versailles, Indiana, USA

For the full text of the letter click on or copy and paste the link below into your web browser:


12-09-2012 Dick Spotswood: Oyster farm’s ouster signals end of all commercial agriculture in Point Reyes National Seashore

“THE DECISION by U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to shut the Lunny family’s oyster farm ultimately will spell the doom of all commercial agriculture on Point Reyes. Within the next 20 years you can bet that the remaining dairy and cattle ranches in the National Seashore will go the way of the dodo.

The existence of private cattle and dairy ranches seemingly offends environmental activists and Interior Department staffers. Most philosophically oppose any private sector involvement, no matter how benign or sustainable, on the peninsula.

Here’s how they’ll do the deed. They’ll contend that fecal runoff from dairy and beef cattle is raising nitrogen levels in Drakes Estero and Tomales Bay. They will assert that harms the newly pristine wilderness created when oyster harvesting was banned. Ergo, dairy and cattle ranches must go.”


To read the full article click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:


12-07-2012 National Review: A Shucking Shame!

The examples of bad science are abundant. In another report, Goodman discovered that the Park Service had claimed the oyster farm had an adverse effect on red-legged frogs, an endangered species. One problem: Red-legged frogs live in fresh water, not the salt water of the oyster farm. Goodman dug further and found that the Park Service was claiming that the presence of Drake’s Bay Oyster Co. put the red-legged frog at “increased risk for vehicle strikes.” In other words, the government was claiming that an endangered frog might somehow trek toward the seashore, cross a road, and get hit by a car on the half-mile path leading to the oyster farm.

Meanwhile, the Lunnys, working with lawyers from Cause of Action, have launched one final attempt to keep their farm. They say they were not afforded due process and have lost their property through arbitrary action of the government — both claims are constitutional. Furthermore, they allege that Interior violated the National Environmental Policy Act and that the Park Service violated its own rules. On Monday, the Lunnys filed for injunctive relief, which would allow them to continue to operate the farm until a court rules on the case.

To be sure, it’s an uphill battle. The Interior Department has millions of taxpayer dollars at its disposal. Meanwhile, the Lunnys are on the brink of bankruptcy.

To read the full article click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:


12-07-2012 Marin IJ: Backlash Over Ouster of Oyster Farm Sends Message to D.C.

KEN SALAZAR is far from the most popular man in Marin right now.

The secretary of the U.S. Interior Department announced last week that the lease for the Drakes Bay Oyster Co. will not be renewed, ending 100 years of oyster farming in Drakes Estero.

His decision, while not a surprise, triggered a flood of local reaction that has mostly taken him to task.

The IJ has received more than 45 letters to the editor on the issue. They are running about 80 percent in favor of the oyster farm getting a longer lease on life. There also have been hundreds of comments posted on IJ stories online.

The outrage in Marin is genuine, but we don’t expect Salazar to change his mind, despite the reaction here and the lawsuit filed this week by Kevin Lunny, owner of Drakes Bay Oyster Co., and his supporters. Salazar and other federal officials knew this was a no-win situation, that the government would be sued regardless of his decision. They would rather deal with a lawsuit by an oyster farmer than with one by major environmental and conservation groups.

That doesn’t make his decision right. It just makes it political.

For the full article, click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:


12-06-2012 West Marin Citizen Editorials, Articles and Letters

The decision not to renew DBOC’s lease and evict within 90 days stunned our community. Below is a link to one of our two local papers. I invite you to read for yourself the reaction of our community.

Page 2, bottom right corner box titled “Local Reaction” the “Citizen Editorial Board” made this comment:

“….This edition of the Citizen includes numerous
letters, articles and columns in support
of DBOC and/or opposition to
Salazar’s decision, and none taking the opposite
view. This is not because of any editorial
bias on our part – it simply reflects
the material we have received, unsolicited….”

To read more from the edition, click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:


12-06-2012 Tess Elliott, editor of the Pulitzer Prize inning paper, “The Point Reyes Light” wrote the following article in this week’s edition of the paper:

Ordered to close, oyster farmer sues federal government

 A government watchdog group filed a lawsuit on behalf of Kevin Lunny on Monday alleging that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s decision to close Drakes Bay Oyster Company violates the United States Constitution and the American Procedure Act, and that the release of the controversial Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the oyster farm violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Data Quality Act.

The Secretary’s decision was made on the eve of the expiration of the farm’s operating agreement with the National Park Service and a week after the release of the EIS.

To read the full article click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:


12-06-2012 Below is my original, full response, to the letter to the editor which appeared in  both local weekly papers titled “A Time for Peace”, (West Marin Citizen, and Pulitzer Prize winning Point Reyes Light letter to the editor, November 29, 2012)

Dear Editor:

The signatories [of that letter] must remember: “In order to have peace, one must work for justice.” 85 to 90% of us know the so-called “side that did not prevail” has not seen justice and must seek justice through Congress and the Courts – a right and duty we own as citizens of this country.

They want Marin County Board of Supervisor Steve Kinsey to represent both sides when the science, the data, and the truth, are omitted by the opposition? Then, when called on it, they proceed to defame the character of anyone who disagrees, and continue to manufacture and promulgate falsehoods, and we should all “reconcile” ourselves to Salazar’s decision?

  1. In that case, I suppose
    1. the founders of this country should have “reconciled” themselves to England’s rule over us;
    2. Lincoln should have “reconciled” himself to the segregationists
    3. the Suffragettes should have “reconciled” themselves to their lot in life, gone home, donned their aprons and gotten back to their housework
    4. and Roe should have “reconciled” herself to her pregnancy and had the baby
  1. They mention the damage “it” has done and want there to be a reconciliation
    1. “to cause to accept or to be resigned to something not desired (as to his/her fate)
    2. or to win over to friendliness, cause to become amicable”)
    3. but fail to recognize 85 to 90% of us (West Marinites and Marinites by all polls taken) are for the continuation of the farm.

Who is causing the damage to the community by insisting that 85 to 90% of us shut up and take it?

Jane Gyorgy

Point Reyes Station


12-05-2012 Russian River Times article: Salazar brings Closure to oyster farm but no Closure to the Community:

“West Marin Rancher: ‘…As far as I’m concerned, NPS and its environmental henchmen are nothing more than a bunch of green collar criminals.’ ”  


“Secretary Salazar must have told his staffers to get him in and out of Point Reyes as quickly as possible in his visit, one supposedly meant to decide the fate of the Lunny family’s operation. Contrast that with Prince Charles, who came to see W. Marin’s thriving sustainable agriculture, sat down to a lunch with many of the farmers and ranchers, with Kevin Lunny seated next to him”. 


“One person I spoke to commented that this type of dishonest behavior and Salazar’s visit were rapidly becoming the poster child for why people have such a low opinion of government, and if local communities can’t trust that NPS will follow its own policies and previous decisions regarding West Marin, local governance becomes impossible.”

To read the full article click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:


12-05-12 IBD:

“The federal government wants California’s biggest oyster farm to shut down. Not because it’s broken the law or is irredeemably dirty. Washington just wants it to go away.”

To read the full article click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:




“We are …fighting…against a federal government that seems to value lies over the truth and special interests over the welfare of a community,” – Kevin Lunny, owner, DBOC

To read the full article click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:


11-29-2012 Marin IJ Editorial: Lease Should be Extended

…Lunny has been a good steward of the estero since he bought the operation from the Johnson family.

The National Park Service should not be rewarded for the disgraceful tactics it used in its fight to get rid of the oyster farm. That approach has made many in West Marin more distrustful of the motives of some federal park officials, which is unfortunate.

We hope a fair decision will allow all parties involved to move beyond this divisive issue.

We urge Secretary Salazar to allow Drakes Bay Oyster Co. to keep harvesting oysters in the estero for 10 more years.

For the complete article click the link below:


11-27-2012 The Final EIS is out, Secretary Salazar came to Drakes Estero, and a Secretarial “decision” is slated to be announced later this week.

DBOC reviewed the NPS Final EIS (FEIS) on the DBOC pending permit extension and just submitted comments to the Secretary.  In the very short time available to review this 1000 page document,  the sections on “sound” were reviewed because it was the only environmental impact determined by NPS to be MAJOR if the farm is allowed to continue.  The NPS science in this $2 million EIS is false – it’s just plain wrong.

For the letter to Salazar from DBOC, click the link below:

2012-11-27-DBOC to Sec Salazar

For the Environ Comments Memo on the Final EIS, click the link below:

2012-11-27-ENVIRON DBOC_FEIS_Soundscape_Comments_Memo

For the Stoel (attorney’s) letter to Salazar, click the link below:

2012-11-27-Stoel letter to Sec Salazar

Your attention is directed to the ENVIRON letter and Dr. Goodman’s analysis.

According to ENVIRON:


“The soundscape impact analysis remains fundamentally flawed. It does not offer sufficiently coherent and correct information upon which to base informed decisions regarding noise impacts from the DBOC facility. The FEIS appears to be based more on pursuing a specific, preconceived result than in factually considering noise generated by the DBOC operations and transmission of such noise to other locations.”

 “NPS has spent time and money developing an equally invalid, slanted, and incomplete assessment.”


The noise analysis reported in the DEIS relied on gross exaggerations of DBOC source noise levels based on misuse of data from measurements of other sources.”

 NPS’s repeated, unsupported criticisms regarding the quality and utility of the ENVIRON sound level measurements are simply a disappointing attempt to cast doubt where none exists. In lieu of taking actual sound level measurements of the specific equipment whose noise it is attempting to assess, NPS instead opted to criticize but then essentially substantiate and then use the ENVIRON sound level measurement data representing DBOC equipment. At the same time NPS has continued to use an exaggerated range of possible equipment noise levels based on false comparisons with unrepresentative equipment.


11-12-2012 LivestockForLandscapes blog posting: Fellow Farmer Needs Your Help

Below is a link to  posting on their take on the situation.

Please click on the link below to read what they have to say.

Fellow Farmer Needs Your Help |.


Watch the video: “The Framing of an Oyster Farm”

11-09-2012 Greenwire:  Still no EIS as deadline looms.

Now, with only three weeks to go, the Interior Department appears to be in a tight spot. Salazar has the option of granting the farm a new 10-year lease, using the Park Service’s EIS to inform his decision.
The draft EIS found that the farm’s continued operations would negatively affect the surrounding environment. But it suffered substantial criticism for its findings — including a particularly critical report from the National Academy of Sciences — and the final EIS is nowhere to be found.
For the full article, click on the link below:


11-01-2012 Salazar honors Spanish Ship wreck, ignores Hispanic workers at DBOC

Secretary Salazar may wish to honor the first wreck of a Spanish ship in California, the San Augustín, but he has been flagrantly ignoring the struggle of today’s Hispanic food producers and shellfish harvesters to hang on to their jobs at Drakes Bay Oyster Company in Point Reyes National Seashore.

And yet, for more than six years, the jobs of Drakes Bay Oyster Company workers have been in jeopardy, largely because of the questionable science and policies fostered by the bureaucrat who Salazar tapped to be director of the national park service, Jon Jarvis.

Gary Paul Nabhan

Gary Paul Nabhan served on the Congressionally-appointed National Park System Advisory Board under two Presidents. A MacArthur Fellow, he is co-editor of the book People, Plants and Protected Areas and author of Coming Home to Eat. A pioneer in the local food movement, he is also an orchard-keeper in Southern Arizona, cultivating over 35 varieties of heirloom fruits and nut trees introduced by Spanish-speaking farmers during the Mission era.

Ethnobiologist, conservationist, and essayist

Honoring Achievements of Hispanic Food Producers, But No Engagement With Their Struggles

Posted: 11/01/2012 9:01 am

For the full text of the article click on the link below:


10-30-2012 An Oyster in the Storm –

“…as Hurricane Sandy bears down on me, I find I’m desperately missing one thing.

I wish I had some oysters.

I’m not talking about oysters to eat — although a dozen would be nice to go with that leftover bottle of Champagne that I really should drink if the fridge goes off. I’m talking about the oysters that once protected New Yorkers from storm surges, a bivalve population that numbered in the trillions and that played a critical role in stabilizing the shoreline from Washington to Boston.

Generation after generation of oyster larvae rooted themselves on layers of mature oyster shells for more than 7,000 years until enormous underwater reefs were built up around nearly every shore of greater New York.

Just as corals protect tropical islands, these oyster beds created undulation and contour on the harbor bottom that broke up wave action before it could pound the shore with its full force. Beds closer to shore clarified the water through their assiduous filtration (a single oyster can filter as much as 50 gallons of water a day); this allowed marsh grasses to grow, which in turn held the shores together with their extensive root structure.


Fortunately, the New York oyster is making something of a comeback. Ever since the Clean Water Act was passed in the 1970s, the harbor’s waters have been getting cleaner, and there is now enough dissolved oxygen in our waterways to support oyster life. In the last 10 years, limited sets of natural oyster larvae occurred in several different waterways that make up the Greater New York Bight.

Alongside nature’s efforts, a consortium of human-run organizations that include the Hudson River Foundation, New York-New Jersey Bay Keeper, the Harbor School and even the Army Corps of Engineers have worked together to put out a handful of test reefs throughout the Bight.”

For the full article click on the link below:

via An Oyster in the Storm –


10-30-2012 Merging sex appeal and locally-harvested oysters, Petaluma residents Aluxa and Jazmine Lalicker want to educate Sonoma County gourmands about why the mollusk is not only tasty, but also good for the environment.

Four years ago, Aluxa Lalicker was working as a sea kayak guide in Tomales Bay, when she started bringing oysters along on her trips and serving them to her guests.

The treats were a hit, and lo and behold, a new business was born.

Today Lalicker is part of the Petaluma-basedThe Oyster Girls, a traveling oyster bar that is injecting femininity into a culinary sub-culture dominated by men.

“People think that oysters are dirty and hard to open, but that’s not true,” says the 30-year-old Lalicker. “It’s all about the technique.”

Lalicker runs the business with her 23-year-old sister Jazmine and their mom, often assisted by a group of girlfriends, serving up the tasty mollusks at Sonoma County wineries, galas, weddings and other events.

Often wearing dresses and high heels, the Lalicker girls ooze sex appeal that’s become part of their brand. (Their business card features a pin-up girl sitting inside an oyster shell.)

But they’re a lot more than just pretty faces.

The Lalickers take the time to travel to local oyster farms (Tomales Bay Oyster Company and Drakes Bay Oyster Company), going out on small motorboats to pick up the product, bring it back to land and spray wash it before taking it to a party.

“We don’t get paid for that part of the job, but we wanted to create that farm to table experience,” says Jazmine Lalicker. “It’s an important part of our business.”

For the full article, click on the link below:

Meet the Oyster Girls – Petaluma, CA Patch.


10-25-2012 Point Reyes Light, guest Column by Judy Teichman

“These “inconvenient truths” establish that the NPS cannot terminate shellfish cultivation in Drakes Estero by refusing to grant DBOF a special use permit to replace the expiring RUO for the land and facilities in the pastoral zone on the shores of Drakes Estero. Regardless of what happens with the onshore facilities, the state retains its reserved right to lease the Drakes Estero bottomlands for shellfish cultivation.”

For the full text of the article, click the link below:




The California Department of Fish and Game is pressuring the Interior Department to allow a California oyster farm to stay in a potential wilderness area, in the latest twist of a years-long controversy.

Until now, the state agency has stayed out of the debate over whether Interior should issue a new lease to Drakes Bay Oyster Co. when its current one expires Nov. 30. The farm has operated in Point Reyes National Seashore for decades; located in Drakes Estero, the farm straddles a “pastoral zone” set aside for ranchers and a “potential wilderness” area (Greenwire, Sept. 13).

But the state department has overseen the farm’s water bottom leases since California conveyed Drakes Estero to the federal government in 1965. That agreement underscores a long-held understanding, according to Fish and Game — namely, that California would be able to retain its fishing rights and allow the farm’s indefinite operation.

With less than six weeks until the farm’s lease expires, Interior has yet to release its final environmental impact statement. Salazar will consider the EIS in making his final decision.

But the draft EIS — which found that the farm would negatively affect the surrounding environment — has been controversial, with the oyster farm demanding that Interior redo it (Greenwire, Sept. 18). A report in August from the National Academy of Sciences found that a lack of evidence made the conclusions in the draft EIS significantly uncertain (Greenwire, Aug. 30).

For the full text of the Greenwire article click on the link below:



Marin IJ, Dick Spotswood

MARIN’S long-stewing “Oyster War” just got a bit spicier. Now the issue is state sovereignty versus federal jurisdiction.

On Oct. 10, after a bureaucratic tug-of-war, the state’s appointed Fish and Game Commission, with a little push from the governor’s office, got its staff to reluctantly issue a letter supporting continuation of aquaculture in Drakes Estero.

For the full article click the link below:



Point Reyes Light, News Briefs

An article declaring the threat of a “newly discovered” invasive species in Drakes Estero, published in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat and reprinted in the Marin Independent Journal this week, appears to be yet another hit piece churned out by wilderness advocates in the weeks leading up to the expiration of Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s lease.

For the complete brief, click on the link below:



Charlton Bonham, the Director of the State of California, Natural Resources Agency, Department of Fish and Game, in a letter to Point Reyes National Seashore Superintendent Cicely Muldoon, wrote to “encourage continued cooperation between the National Park Service, the California Department of Fish and Game (“Department”), and Drakes Bay Oyster Company….”

He cites the “47 years” of  the two agencies having worked together “to allow continued aquaculture in Drakes Estero.” and “….fishing rights included the rights…for shellfish cultivation.” 

He reminds her of the “…almost five decades, the State has supported aquaculture in Drakes Estero….” and that “continued cooperation … will benefit the environment, the community, and the local economy, consistent with our agencies’ unique history of managing this property….”

For the full text of the letter, click the link below:

DFG Muldoon_Drakes Bay Letter 10_10_12[1]



This raises major questions about the integrity of the pending IG’s investigation of NPS soundscape science at Drakes Estero.

“Washington, DC — A sizeable and growing segment of the investigators and supervisors within the Interior’s Department’s Office of Inspector General (IG) believes the office is pulling punches to avoid embarrassing the administration, according to new staff survey results posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). These concerns echo criticisms by Congress and PEER that under acting Inspector General Mary Kendall the Interior IG has compromised its “independence and honesty” to please political superiors, in the words of one agent.”

For Immediate Release: Oct 09, 2012
Contact: Kirsten Stade             (202) 265-7337

Rising Doubts on Independence of Interior Inspector General

Staff Survey Shows Only 60% Believe IG Operates “Free from Improper Influence”

Posted on Oct 09, 2012  | Tags: DOIScientific Integrity

For the full article, click the link below:



Knight Professor of Journalism, Michael Pollen wrote to Senator Feinstein in support of Drakes Bay Oyster Company

“As a member of the Bay Area community and as a journalist who writes about the environment and sustainable agriculture, I’m writing in strong support of the Drakes Bay Oyster Company in Point Reyes. I have followed this saga for several years now, with a mounting sense of wonder and disappointment in the behavior of the Park Service. Drakes Bay is an important thread in the local sustainable food community, and it would be a shame – in fact an outrage – if the company were closed down as a result of the Park Service’s ideological rigidity and misuse of science….”

For the full text of the article, click the link below:

10-05-2012 Michael Pollen letter to Senator Feinstein



Cause of Action letter to Senators, House Members etc re Data Quality Act Complaint

Today, Cause of Action (CoA), a government watchdog nonprofit, sent a letter to a bi-partisan group of Senators, House Members and other elected officials including Senator Feinstein and Chairman Issa, and the Marin County Board of Supervisors, regarding the Data Quality Act (DQA) complaint which stated, “on August 7, 2012, the Lunnys and Dr. Goodman, with the assistance of Cause of Action, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting arbitrary federal overreach, filed a DQA complaint with the National Park Service for its intentional use of inaccurate, non-transparent, and deliberately misleading information.  Federal law requires that NPS respond within 60 days to this complaint, and either begin the process of correcting its errors or explain why it will not.”

 These public officials were informed by CoA that“on or before October 8, 2012, NPS must respond to DBOC’s challenge to the quality of data used in the DEIS.”

For the full story and the actual letters, click the link below:



West Marin Citizen, Citizen’s Forum by Dr. Laura Watt: ” The nature of wilderness – past intentions for oyster farm’s future”

In my own research, reading through everything I’ve been able to find about the designation of wilderness at Point Reyes – the planning documents, comment letters from environmental organizations and members of the public, and testimony from Congressional hearings, as well as the formal bills and reports, and subsequent management plans – I have not come across any statements anticipating closure of the oyster farm in 2012.

In contrast, quite a number of statements suggest the opposite: that the oyster farm was intended to continue under potential wilderness designation, with no clear end point or expiration date. For instance, in the 1974 Final EIS for Proposed Wilderness (page 56), the NPS wrote, “This is the only oyster farm in the seashore. Control of the lease from the California Department of Fish and Game, with presumed renewal indefinitely, is within the rights reserved by the State on these submerged lands … and there is no foreseeable termination of this condition.”

By Laura Watt

Professor Laura Watt, Legislative and Administrative History Does Not Support NPS and Others Who Contend Oyster Farm to Close in 2012

for the Full article, click on the link below:


John Hart: An Island in Time, 50 Years of Point Reyes National Seashore, 2012, Lighthouse Press

Pg 136

In 1976, the estero had been denied … full wilderness classification environmentalist sought and instead given a status never before mentioned in a law: “potential wilderness”. “…meant …would take instant effect IF the oyster farm departed. Did it also mean that the farm SHOULD  depart?

The conservations of the day did not think so.

  • Sierra Club: “The water area can be put under the Wilderness Act even while the oyster culture is continued – it will be a prior existing, non-conforming use.”
  • The Citizens Advisory Commission:  asked for specific language in the legislation to permit “operation of Johnson’s Oyster Farm including the use of motorboats and the repair and construction of oyster racks and other activities in conformance with the terms of the existing 1,000 acres lease from the State.
  • Both houses of Congress at Senate Hearing on wilderness bill, said that the oysters should stay.
  • Pete McCloskey and John Burton, authors of the original legislation confirm the intent to keep the oyster farm

Page 137:

A key advisor to the park, the Dept of Interior Field Solicitor in SF, had reviewed the record in 2004.

  • Twenty years earlier, Ralph G. Mihan had underlined Congress’ “INTENTION TO MAINTAIN LAND-BASED AGRICULTURE IN THE PARK”.
  • This time Mihan reported to Superintendent Neubacher: “The Park Service is mandated…to convert potential wilderness…to wilderness status as soon as the non-conforming use can be terminated.
  • Congress, of course, can issue new instructions…and Senator Feinstein…did. In a rider attached to an appropriations bill, it authorized the Secretary of the Interior to renew the oyster company’s lease, on the existing terms, for a decade – if he chose.”

Emphasis added is mine.



A California oyster farm is demanding that the Interior Department redo a draft environmental impact statement, pointing to a recent study as proof that the review is so inadequate it “precludes meaningful analysis.”



Oyster farm at heart of wilderness battle demands fresh environmental review

For the complete article click the link below:



STOEL RIVES LLP, Attorneys at Law, letter to NPS:

“NEPA regulations are clear that a federal agency may not finalize a draft EIS that precludes meaningful analysis under 40 C.F.R. Section 1502.9(a).  TheNRC Report demonstrates unequivocally that the DEIS fails to pass this basic test in a number of important ways.  Accordingly, NPS will commit NEPA error if it finalizes the DEIS before preparing and re-circulating a Revised DEIS because the findings made in the NRC Report demonstrate that the DEIS is so inadequate as to preclude meaningful analysis….Instead NPS must now revise the DEIS, and re-circulate and seek public comment on the Revised DEIS.”

For the complete letter, click the link below:



West Marin Citizen reports:

“Inverness resident and former Sierra Club representative Gordon Bennett has had his Sea Haven home red-tagged by the county for illegal building, county code enforcement officer Cristy Stanley said.”

Gordon Bennett caught without permits on massive illegal remodel and illegal construction at his home. 

Inverness resident and former Sierra Club representative Gordon Bennett has had his Sea Haven home red-tagged by the county for illegal building, county code enforcement officer Cristy Stanley said.

Officials visited the property and issued the tag on August 3, noting that Mr. Bennett was attempting an unpermitted interior remodel and the construction of two decks.

A county official estimated that permits for similar jobs would cost somewhere in the neighborhood of several thousand dollars.

Ms. Stanley said Mr. Bennett or others at his property’s address were working on relocating a laundry room, remodeling a sun room, relocating a bathroom, and turning another bathroom into a pantry.

Officials met with Mr. Bennett, and sent an official letter notifying him of the violations on August 30. He must obtain permits by September 28, although Ms. Stanley said he is eligible for a 30-day extension.


West Marin Citizen Lynn Axelrod: Natl Research Council finds NPS science defective

The latest report about Drakes Bay Oyster Company leaves a mark against the National Park Service’s science but says that adaptive management could help.

The National Research Council, an arm of the National Academies of Science, reviewed a Draft Environmental Impact Study (DEIS) on the potential effects of letting the oyster company stay in Drakes Estero another ten years. Its conclusions in total were not favorable for Point Reyes National Seashore’s attempt to remove the oyster company on environmental grounds.


National Research Council finds science defective By Lynn Axelrod

For the full article



Pt Reyes Light: Academy finds oyster DEIS Lacking

“An answer to whether or not Drake’s Bay Oyster Company is harming the environment remains elusive, as the National Academy of Sciences last week judged evidence in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) issued by the National Park Service to be insufficient.”

Academy finds oyster DEIS lacking

For the full article:



Assoc. Press. “New York’s new environmental hero – the oyster!!!

09-02-12 Associate Press, Verena Dobnik

Marine scientists …, say mollusks planted in waters off New York and other cities could go a long way toward cleaning up America’s polluted urban environment. The oyster and other shellfish can slurp up toxins and eliminate decades of dirt.

Landscape architect Kate Orff has a name for the work she does at her Scape firm: Oyster-tecture. Orff is designing a park and a living reef for the mouth of Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal, where oysters could take hold and help filter one of the nation’s most polluted waterways.

“My new hero is the oyster, with its biological power,” Orff says.

The Oyster Restoration Research Project, a New York-based nonprofit umbrella group, partners with the NY/NJ Baykeeper ecology advocate working at the Bronx site, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that built an oyster reef on Governors Island off Manhattan.

While oysters are cultivated around the world, the United States has some of the best regeneration programs, says Bill Goldsborough, director of fisheries program at Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Annapolis, Md. The bay is a center of natural oyster growth, and regeneration is thriving just outside urban Annapolis and in Baltimore harbor.

Oyster-tecture is a 21st-century approach to creating new waterfront infrastructures where long-gone shellfish can be brought back.

Rich and poor New Yorkers and visitors dined on them in a maritime metropolis filled with vessels and street vendors hawking roasted oysters, long before hot dogs. But they slowly died out by the turn of the 19th century, overwhelmed by industrial waste, sewage, diseases and the dredging of the harbor to make room for shipping and development.

Now, new beds of oysters for New York’s broken-down ecosystem are budding in more than a half dozen locations in the area. If the water temperature, currents, chemistry and other conditions are right, the bivalve can break down the pollution and thrive. But while suitable for cleanup work, they should not be eaten and poachers should not harvest polluted oysters and sell them for profit.

“The question is ‘how can we use the natural processes of organisms that were once here in abundance,'” she says. If oyster regeneration can be sustained and expanded, “it’s the ultimate success story for one of the most urban and heavily used harbors in the world.”

Grizzle says the oyster is the perfect aquatic engineer for the job. It pumps water to feed, retains any polluted particles and releases the rest — purified. Each one filters about 50 gallons of water a day.

“There’s no human engineering substitute for these living things that clean the water,” he says as he wades hundreds of feet back to the South Bronx shore.

For the full story:

New Yorks new environmental hero _ the oyster.

08-30-12 Greenwire: Park Service must make lack of data plain in oyster case — NAS

Emily Yehle, E&E reporter

Published: Thursday, August 30, 2012

The National Park Service should make it clear in an upcoming environmental impact statement that it does not have enough information to establish a California oyster farm’s impact on the environment, according to a new report from the National Academy of Sciences.

For the full text of the article:



The NAS study will be released TODAY.

NPS will not like it.

After six years – the NPS STILL does not have DATA to support its claims.

This is a stunning rebuke of the National Park Service – Again!

 The media were informed yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon and provided the report (except, of course, the Point Reyes Light and the West Marin Citizen – both were black-balled, undoubtedly at NPS’ direction).  No slight too small!!

To fully understand what is now happening, a little history is in order.

For the full article:



Referencing the complaint requesting correction of specific items in dEIS and in the Atkins final Report, the “Information Collection Clearance Officer of the NPS Business Services Directorate stated:

“Your complaint has been referred, and will be evaluated, and you will be notified in accordance with the provisions of National Park Service Director’s Order #11 B: Ensuring Quality of Information Disseminated by the National Park Service and Department of the Interior Information Quality Guidelines.”

For the full text of the letter:



Point Reyes Light retracts story

“Regrettably we (Point Reyes Light) failed to dig deep enough, and as a result we missed puzzling statements in the letter that, among other things, reverse Dr. Ragen’s (Executive Director, Marine Mammal Commission) official position on the impacts of mariculture on harbor seals in Drakes Estero. In other words, we missed the story.”

In private letter, Tim Ragen admits no evidence for seal study

 Point Reyes Light, August 9, 2012

EDITORIAL – By Tess Elliott

For the full article click on this link:


a Data Quality Act Complaint was filed with the National Park Service by Dr. Corey Goodman and Kevin and Nancy Lunny, owners, Drakes Bay Oyster Company to make corrections as required by law and policy in the NPS Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and the Atkins Final Peer Review (March 2012).

NPS must acknowledge the report within 10 days and by statute, respond within 60 days.

Summary of Complaint

To comply with applicable minimum information-quality standards, all scientific information that NPS disseminates in publications such as the DEIS and Atkins Peer Review Report must be, among other things, accurate and timely; based on the best available science and supporting studies and the most current information available; highly transparent; supported by reliable data, including on-site data when required by law; consistent with sound and accepted scientific practices and policies; evidence-based; reproducible by qualified third parties; and objective and unbiased in terms of both presentation and substance.

NPS can only claim that Alternative A is the “environmentally preferred alternative” because it flagrantly and repeatedly failed to comply with these minimum information-quality standards. Conclusions in the DEIS that DBOC causes “major” long-term adverse impacts on Drakes Estero’s “soundscape” and “wilderness” are based on inaccurate, nontransparent, false, and misleading data and analysis that violates NPS’s information-quality guidelines, as are claims that DBOC causes “moderate” long-term adverse impacts on Drakes Estero’s “harbor seals,” “birds and bird habitat,” and “visitor and recreation experience.”   If the DEIS is corrected to meet basic minimum information-quality standards, it becomes clear that DBOC’s operations do not have long-term adverse impacts on Drakes Estero’s environment.

Click on the link or copy and paste this link into your web browser



West Marin Citizen 

Letter to the Editor

 Estero ecology



russianrivertimes | Just another site.

“We cannot overemphasize how damaging NPS behavior has been to the local public’s perception of federal science and policy, not only regarding the oyster farm, but a host of other issues.  NPS and its consultants are asking us to believe that a 300-fold error in sound footprint, as shown in the previous graphic, makes no difference to the conclusions of the EIS.  This is clearly stated in a May 7, 2012 letter from  peer review consultant ATKINS to Dr. Ralph Morgenweck. DOI Scientific Integrity Officer.   Essentially, having been caught with their hand in the data jar, the NPS consultant abdicates responsibility by saying that the EIS is fine, no one is wrong, it’s too complicated and that tired, over-used scientific excuse, ‘further research is required’.  It never addresses the huge errors caused by the bogus NPS data nor its origin. The citizens of West Marin and the general public know when they are being lied to by NPS and its consultants.  We look to your panel to protect us from this kind of scientific dishonesty and abuse of policy.”

For the full article, please click on the link above.


I took the opportunity to travel to Irvine to have 5 minutes in front of the new NAS NRC panel on Tuesday, July 10, 2012, University of California Irvine, Beckman Center. click the link below for more information on how that meeting went.

Questions of Fundamentally Sound and Materially Sufficient for Blog



Marin Voice: More evidence of state’s authority over Drakes Estero oyster beds

“(Fish and Game) Commissioner Michael Sutton: “Our jurisdiction in this matter is clear. We have exercised it in the form of a lease … We … confirm that … we support our continuing authority … and our support for the lease in Drakes Estero.”

(Fish and Game ) Commissioner Richard B. Rogers: “I agree … here is a strong affirmation, a message from the commission … We believe the water-bottom lease should continue until 2029. … We control those bottoms, not the National Park Service…”

THE EXTREME ideologues, intent upon shucking the entire Drakes Estero oyster farm, are now attacking California’s most respected officeholder, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, for trying to save aquaculture production in Point Reyes.

Extreme ideologues have trouble accepting facts.

That goes with the mindset of Marin Voice author Gordon Bennett (IJ, June 14) but it provides an opportunity to again set forth some irrefutable facts.

The newest fact is that the California Fish and Game Commission, exercising its constitutionally granted authority, has again asserted its jurisdiction over Drakes Estero oyster beds at its May meeting in Monterey.”

For the complete article, click on the link below:



Russian River Times, Unsound Advice: NPS and its Drakes Estero DEIS Consultant

“In the Drakes Estero DEIS, no reasons are given for selecting the jet ski sound, and the even more distorting substitution of construction-equipment sound data for actual oyster equipment. This fact places these questions before the IG’s investigation: who at NPS or VBH is responsible for the decision not to make actual measurements of the DBOC equipment; who selected the 1995 Jet Ski and other imported data; and what was their rationale for doing so.

The imported data selected for the DEIS produces results claiming to show negative impact over the entire estero, covering all the seal haul-out areas. However, NPS has run through five generations of hypotheses of harm to establish a negative link between oyster-farm activity and seal populations but failed in every instance.”

For the full article, copy and paste the link below into your web browser:


Russian River Times: Counterfeiting Science – National Park Service vs. Sound Scientific Data

A review of the current Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Drake’s Estero reveals the nature of National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis’ war on the scientific method. The scientific method involves observation, hypothesis, analysis and verification. In Jarvis’ case, NPS observation is driven by his version of policy, coupled with refusal to engage in open dialogue on the analysis, and concealment and manipulation of data that would prevent them from verifying their claims.

“Once again, NPS created a new hypothesis of harm, in this case the supposedly highly negative impact of sound on wildlife and wilderness from Drake’s Bay Oyster Company. However, this latest allegation cannot survive even the most cursory examination without collapsing in a way that raises serious questions as to the integrity of Jarvis’ management of Park Service Science….Worse, the NPS had research data in hand that directly discredited their hypothesis of harm.”

For the full article, copy and paste this link into your web browser:



Greenwire: Good Enough for Government Work

To PEER executive director Jeff Ruch, the debate over the noise data is irrelevant.  The draft EIS is “good enough for government work,” he said.

For the full text of the article, click the link below:

04-11-12 Greenwire Good enough for government work



Russian River Times: National Park Service Sounds Off

“The ongoing science controversy surrounding Drake’s Estero raises a critical question. If the Department of Interior cannot assure scientific integrity in a case representing a tiny oyster farm in a National Park, how can they ensure integrity in the management of the Nation’s resources where billions of dollars are involved in leases to the oil, gas and other extractive industries that benefit from access to public lands?”

For the full text of the article copy and paste the link below into your web browser:



National Parks Traveler: PRNS Staff Accused of More Wrongdoing

“… the California Democrat [Senator Dianne Feinstein] … says the Park Service relied on data collected by New Jersey State Police 17 years ago in describing noise from the oyster company’s boats.”

As proof the senator points to a June 2011 version of the seashore’s draft Environmental Impact Statement on the oyster company’s operations. In that document there’s a table pertaining to “noise generation” from oyster company boats operating in Drakes Estero at Point Reyes. The table clearly states that the source for “sound estimations” came from New Jersey State Police tests on marine craft from 1995.

“I am frankly stunned that after all the controversy over past abuse of science on this issue, Park Service employees would feel emboldened to once again fabricate the science in building a case against the oyster company,” wrote the senator in a letter (attached below) sent Thursday. “I can only attribute this conduct to an unwavering bias against the oyster company and historic ranches.”

For the full text of the National Parks Traveler article, please click the link below.

03-30-2012 NPT PRNS Staff Accused of More Wrongdoing in Measuring Imapcts of Oyster Farm



Senator Dianne Feinstein Letter to Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar

“…the straw that breaks the camel’s back…”

Senator Dianne Feinstein in a strongly worded letter to Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, spells out the deception by the National Park Service and the falsification of data by the National Park Service as it relates to Drakes Bay Oyster Company and demands renewal of the lease as the only solution.

For the full text of the honorable Senator’s letter, please click the link below:

03-29-12 Feinstein letter to Salazar re NPS Repeated Misconduct



ABC7 – Assignment 7 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012, Ken Miguel of ABC 7 news exposed more National Park Service’s deceptive attempts to victimize Drakes Bay Oyster Company.

For the full video and text, please copy and paste the link below into your web browser. 



Greenwire: NPS noise data for CA oyster farm based on 1995 study in New Jersey

“The mystery over how NPS came to its estimates lingers. Interior is refusing to detail how NPS extrapolated the sound levels of the farm’s equipment from the 1995 New Jersey study and a 2006 “Construction Noise Users Guide” from the Federal Highway Administration.”

For the full text, please copy and paste the link below into your web browser.

03-27-12 Greenwire NPS noise data for CA oyster farm based on 1995 study in NJ



NPS used falsified acoustic data to deceive the Public and a Peer Review of the dEIS

For the full letter, double click on the link below (this is a large file and takes a little longer to upload):

NPS DEIS and ATKINS review soundscape deception.9.2MB



Dr. Goodman letter to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar RE: Falsified Data in dEIS AND Peer Review

For the full text of the letter, click on the link below

CSG to Salazar.03_26_12



US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works article

As part of their ongoing investigation into the scientific misconduct within the Obama Administration, Senator David Vitter (R-La.) and Senator James Inhofe, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, sent a letter today to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar asking him to explain why he consistently ignored serious complaints regarding the scientific integrity of the Director of the National Park Service (NPS) Jon Jarvis, and why these allegations were not addressed during Mr. Jarvis’ nomination process.

For the full story, click on this link:



Letter from Senators Vitter and Inhofe to Salazar

Senators Vitter and Inhofe to Secretary Salazar:

“On three occasions in 2009, while the Jarvis nomination was being vetted, Dr. Corey Goodman, an elected NAS member, submitted three letters to you detailing a case of serial scientific misconduct by Jon Jarvis and NPS officials and scientists under his direct supervision…We are in possession of the three letters dates April 27, 2009, May 10, 2009 and May 16,2009. That a distinguished member of the NAS would need to send such letters of concern to you directly is distressing. Even more distressing is the fact that you have failed to respond.”

For the full text of the letter, click the link below:



National Parks Traveler RE: Congress wants NAS to Review Studies at PRNS and inserted language in an appropriations bill

This language directs the NPS to use the NAS to evaluate the PRNS science.

For the full text of the article, click on the link below:

NPT article on language in an appropriations bill to have NAS evaluate PRNS science



Gary P Nabhan and Jeffrey A Creque article in SF Gate 

“…potential wilderness, agriculture, ranching and mariculture all co-equal management objectives.”

For the full text of the article, click on the link below:

Drakes Estero Oyster Farm a Natural Fit



API ABC News: NorCal Oyster Farm Dispute Spreads to Capitol Hill

“…scrutiny of the research unearthed errors and omissions that critics say showed the park officials had an agenda of getting rid of the oyster farm.”

For the complete article, copy and paste this link into your web browser:



Marin Voice: Former Assemblyman [Author of AB 1024] Says Original Legislation Favors Oyster Farm

“…October 22, 1965 letter from the director of the Department of Fish and Game to the superintendent of the Point Reyes National Seashore stating that since [Assembly Bill] AB 1024 ‘reserved fishing rights to the state, (it) appears all state laws and regulations pertaining to shellfish cultivation remain in effect [and thus] are applicable to the Johnson Oyster Company.’ On March 25, 1966  Superintendent Leslie Arnberger responded: ‘This office is quite agreeable with your) interpretation…” All of this was confirmed by the National Park Service in a 1974 environmental review of possible wilderness status: ‘…control of the lease…from the California Department of Fish and Game, with a renewal indefinitely, is within the rights reserved by the State.’

Folks who wish to change history or legal rights should not try to do so while the author is still alive.”

For the full article, click on the link below:

12-10-11 Former Assemblyman Says Original Legislation Favors Oyster Farm



7700 letters – 47 States, 29 Countries in Support DBOC – Delivered to PRNS

For the full letter, click on the link below:

20111208 DBOC 7700 letters to PRNS



University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension

Marin County Weighs In with a letter to PRNS and Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

As co-authors of the 2009 report ‘The Changing Role of Agriculture in Point Reyes National Seashore”….We find each of the alternatives presented in the DEIS unacceptable

as they conflict with local and state agricultural policy, disregard many of the values and purposes for which PRNS was established, minimize the importance of jobs to the 28% of local Hispanic workers who would eventually be unemployed by closure of DBOC, dismiss the importance and value of the visitor experience that DBOC provides, and minimize the value of DBOC’s oyster production to Marin County’s agricultural economy, to local food, and to the Bay Area’s shellfish supply. We also find the suggestion that DBOC’s continued operation poses any risk to Myrtle’s silverspot butterflies, California red-legged frogs, and California Coho salmon and Central California steelhead trout to be unreasonable and without merit.

Eventual cessation of shellfish production at DBOC would have severe negative consequences for our community and we support a preferred alternative that would allow continued renewal of DBOC’s lease, such as the Collaborative Alternative proposed by the Alliance for Local Sustainable Agriculture.

For the full letter, click on the link below (this is a large document and depending on your internet speed will take a little longer to download):

UofC Extension 12-07-2011



Co-Founders of Malt Weigh In

“Marin County’s agriculture and open space, whether publicly or privately held, are inextricably interconnected. The balance is tenuous, and it’s not unfathomable that all of it—the park, open space, organic food, agritourism—could rapidly evaporate. Once Drake’s Bay Oyster Company gets forced out, there will be a clear road map for eliminating the rest of agriculture in the Point Reyes National Seashore. As the farming dominos fall, so will critical mass of agricultural infrastructure, making the future of Marin agriculture increasingly uncertain, putting at risk all of our hard-won gains. In short, productive farming is critical to preserving open space.”

For the full article, click on the link below:



Drakes Bay Oyster Company Special Use Permit:

The Collaborative management Alternative – a Ten-Year Special Use Permit with Option for Extension; Rehabilitation of Existing Facilities; and Construction of New Processing Facilities

For full text, click on the link below:

Collaborative Management Alternative



The three largest and longest operating local kayaking companies (Blue Waters Kayaking, Inverness; Point Reyes Outdoors, Point Reyes Station; Sea Trek Company, Sausalito) state the dEIS misrepresented the wilderness experience they have consistently encountered over the years and that they have been misrepresented within the dEIS.

“During our many kayak outings on the Estero, the ‘soundscape’ of the wilderness area has not been impacted by the noise of the [oyster] farm.”

For the full text of their letter, click on the link below:

Local kayaking companies DEIS comment letter



Fighting Climate Change WITH OYSTERS!

Oysters also absorb carbon, but their real talent is filtering nitrogen out of the water column. Nitrogen is the greenhouse gas you don’t pay attention to — it is nearly 300 times as potent as carbon dioxide, and according to the journal Nature, the second worst in terms of having already exceeded a maximum “planetary boundary.” Like carbon, nitrogen is an essential part of life — plants, animals, and bacteria all need it to survive — but too much has a devastating effect on our land and ocean ecosystems.

Oysters to the rescue. One oyster filters 30-50 gallons of water a day — and in the process filters nitrogen out of the water column. Recent work done by Roger Newell of the University of Maryland shows that a healthy oyster habitat can reduce total added nitrogen by up to 20 percent. A three-acre oyster farm filters out the equivalent nitrogen load produced by 35 coastal inhabitants (PDF).

For more on this, copy and past the link below into your web browser:



Russian River Times: National Enviro Group Smears Local Oyster Farm

“The Drake’s Bay situation points out the need for national organizations … to be responsible for their actions at the local level, or the integrity of the environmental movement will continue to be divided and compromised…. More importantly, it shows how the NPS, without a proper watchdog or national policy for agriculture and mariculture within the parks, places rural communities and their citizens at the whim of the local Park Superintendent. Over a third of the 400-some national parks, monuments and seashores contain culturally significant working landscapes. In the case of Drake’s Estero, the Superintendent flip-flopped from planning a multi-million dollar upgrade of the oyster farm facilities, signing off that it didn’t require any action under state and federal environmental laws, to conducting a highly questionable campaign to get rid of DBOC. His actions resulted in millions of taxpayer dollars spent on reports, studies, staff time and environmental impact statements, and has yet to produce any data showing that the oyster farm is detrimental to the Estero.”

For the complete article, click the link below:



Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, PEER, reports conflicts of interest by Jon Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service.

“The Director of the Park Service is awash in both the appearance and the actuality of conflicts – and he knows it.”

For the full article, click on the link below:



Invitation to Paul D. Berkowitz, former criminal investigator for the NPS, whistle-blower turned author, and Pete McCloskey, In Conversation



Book Review by Dave Mitchell, former editor of Pulitzer Prize Winning weekly, Point Reyes Light Newspaper

“‘The Case of the Indian Trader’ illuminates the case of the oyster grower.”

For the full review, click on the link below:

The Case of the Indian Trader review by Dave Mitchell 10-30-11



Huffington Post, Bad Science Leads to Bad Policy by Dr. Peter Gleick

“the National Park Service, the Department of the Interior (DOI), and some local environmental supporters (with whom I usually have strong common cause) have manipulated science in their efforts to close the farm. A series of reports have been issued with bad, incomplete, misleading, or cherry-picked evidence of impacts to seagrasses, water quality, fish diversity, and especially seals. These reports have been highly criticized by independent scientists, including the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. And data that contradicts their own studies have been withheld by the Park Service, including over 200,000 photographs from hidden cameras they set up to monitor disturbances caused by the oyster farm, but which now reportedly show no evidence of such disturbances.

An internal DOI report (the “Frost Report“) on this debacle was released earlier this year. That report acknowledged that the scientific arguments of damage from the oyster farm were false, and criticized withholding and cherry-picking data in public reports; writing journal articles with incomplete or wrong data; failing to present complete materials, data, and scientific observations to a National Academy of Sciences Committee, even after multiple requests; and issuing repeatedly false public statements. The Report found a “willingness to allow subjective beliefs and values to guide scientific conclusions,” the use of “subjective conclusions, vague temporal and geographic references, and questionable mathematical calculations,” and “misconduct [that] arose from incomplete and biased evaluation and from blurring the line between exploration and advocacy through research.” A separate National Academy of Sciences review found that the Park Service “selectively presented, over-interpreted, or misrepresented the available science on the potential impacts of the oyster mariculture operation.” Senator Dianne Feinstein, to her credit, has weighed in demanding a return to scientific integrity….

Science is not democratic or republican. Scientific integrity, logic, reason, and the scientific method are core to the strength of our nation. We may disagree among ourselves about matters of opinion and policy, but we (and our elected representatives) must not misuse, hide, or misrepresent science and fact in service of our political wars.”

For the complete article, click on the link below:



National Parks Traveller article on House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Investigation

“Questionable actions the staff of Point Reyes National Seashore has taken towards the Drakes Bay Oyster Co. have drawn the attention of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which is launching an investigation into the fate of the oyster company.”

For the full text of the article, click on the link below:



E&E News PM, Issa Probe Targets NPS Scientists Work on California Oyster Farm

“Drakes Bay Oyster Co., which has operated for almost 90 years on Point Reyes National Seashore, is nearing the end of its 40-year lease. As NPS considers whether to allow the company to stay in a national wilderness area, deliberations have sparked fierce debate over whether the farm’s continued operations would harm harbor seals.

NPS scientists say the farm upsets the breeding of nearby seals, but their research has been called into question by several independent panels and outside scientists.

Now, that evidence will come under the review of the Oversight Committee’s Republicans.”

For the complete article, click on the link below:



Dr. Gleick and Dr. Raymond Defend Dr. Goodman

“Several eminent scientists have participated with Dr. Goodman in his analyses, …. no eminent scientists have successfully disputed Dr. Goodman’s analysis.

We are both elected members of the National Academy of  Sciences. One of us is a MacArthur Fellow and President of the Pacific Institute. The other is Chancellor’s Professor of Chemistry at U.C. Berkeley. Gleick also serves as chair of the American GeophysicalUnion’s Task Force on Scientific Integrity. Both of us have reviewed the NPS science, and are deeply disturbed by its bias, unsupported characterizations, and misrepresentations….

Scientists are often reluctant to enter the public fray precisely because we prefer to argue facts and numbers and analysis in cases when personal attacks, vitriol, and emotion dominate. Indeed, other scientists have told us they do not want to see their good names dragged through the mud by the same kind of vicious attacks that Park supporters have launched against Dr. Goodman. We admire Dr. Goodman for his courage. We stand with him on the side of scientific integrity.

It is time for the NPS to respond directly and publicly to his criticisms or their flawed work should be retracted. Allowing the draft Environmental Impact Statement to cite this so-called science while the NPS scientists refuse to publicly debate it is a disservice to the community and to science. Independent of the debate over the oyster farm, if the decision is tainted with bad science, we all lose.”

For the complete letter, click on the link below:



Republican Congressman, Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar of formal announcement of a Congressional investigation

Issa, former founder and CEO of Directed Electronics named entrepreneur of the year by Inc. magazine, Member of the House Judiciary Committee, requested all documents by noon 11/04/11, and the appearance in Washington for “transcribed interviews” as of 11-07-11.

Called to appear are NPS officials, scientists, and a DOI solicitor, namely:

  1. Gavin Frost, Solicitor’s Office
  2. Jonathon Jarvis, NPS Director
  3. Don Neubacher, Former Superintendent, Point Reyes National Seashore
  4. Dr. Marcia McNutt, Science Advisor to the Office of the Secretary
  5. Dr. Sarah Allen, NPS Scientist
  6. Dr. Ben Becker, NPS Scientist
  7. Cicely Muldoon, Superintendent, Point Reyes National Seashore
For the full text of the letter, click the link below:



West Marin Citizen Reports on Informal Poll on fate of DBOC

“We asked men and women of West Marin their opinions on whether Drake’s Bay Oyster Company should be allowed to continue operations in Drake’s Estero,” the pair said. “We sent the poll to our list of 323 West Marinites.”

The results? The people of West Marin, 88% of women and 93% of men, overwhelmingly support DBOC. That translates into 246 out of the 323 polled.”

For the full text of the article, click on the link below:



Seattle Times, Mount Rainier Park Ex-Official Scrutinized on Land Deal

“National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis, a former Rainier superintendent, not only signed Uberuaga’s 2008 letter of reprimand but also approved his latest promotion.

Yet Uberuaga said the investigation and subsequent reprimand never came up during interviews for his new job, which comes with a $7,000 pay increase, to $153,000 a year.

Jarvis declined repeated interview requests, and the Park Service refused to release any of its records related to the investigation.”

For the full text of the article, click on the link below:



Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, letter to Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, requests delay of publication of the draft EIS

Senator Feinstein, Chairman Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Member Senate Appropriations Committee, Chairman Subcommittee on Energy & Water, Member of Senate Committee on Judiciary, Member of Senate Committee on Rules & Administration, stated:

“Several reports have shown that Point Reyes scientists have not been objective in their analysis of harbor seal impacts in Drakes Estero….

….The Draft Environmental Impact Statement must incorporate the findings of a review of the Park Service’s scientific work when it is in question especially given their history of misrepresenting science. I fear that unless the Department of the Interior stands behind the independent analysis of this scientific paper, then it will be another example of a lack of credibility at Point Reyes National Seashore. The delay would only be approximately one month, but not incorporating the Marin Mammal Commission’s report would threaten the validity of the environmental review.”

For the full text of the letter, click on the link below:

Feinstein letter to Salazar letter 09-02-11



Pete McCloskey, Bagley, Burton letter to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar

Pete McCloskey is a former Republican Congressman, now Democrat, Co-Founder of Earth Day, Author of Endangered Species Act, 2006 Recipient of Sierra Club Edgar Wayburn Award, 2010 Recipient of Sierra Club Environmental Hero Award, and co-author of 1976 Point Reyes Wilderness Act.

William T. Bagley is a former Assemblyman, and co-author of 1976 Point Reyes Wilderness Act.

John L. Burton is a former Congressman co-author of 1976 Point Reyes Wilderness Act.

on August 11, 2011, wrote a letter explaining the original intent of the 1976 Wilderness Act was to protect and preserve the ranches, dairies and oyster farm when designing the Point Reyes Wilderness Area. Also:

“It seems highly possible to us that there are elements in the Park Service Administration, which have had a secret agenda for some years to drive out not only the oyster farm, but the privately-leased ranches as well. There have been a whole series of small impositions on the ranchers which serve to make their operations more difficult. As of last weekend, for example, the Park Service had made no attempt to keep the eild tule elk herds in the northern wilderness section of the Seashore from breaking out onto the cattle ranches in the pastoral zone.

 We think it might go a long way to restore public confidence in the Park Service to hold appropriate congressional committee hearings to ascertain why the Service seems dedicated setting aside the words of Director Wirth of fifty years ago, and the testimony of Congressman Burton and Senator Tunney and the words of former Assistant Secretary Nat Reed regarding the 1976 Wilderness Act.”

For the full text of the letter, click on the link below:

Pete McCloskey Letter to Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar re DBOC 08-11-11



Exhibits accompanying McCloskey letter to Salazar of 08/11/11

For the full text of the exhibits, click on the link below:

McCloskey to Salazar re DBOC 08-11-11 Exhibits accompanying letter to Salazar



The Lunnys letter to Natalie Gates of PRNS regarding Geeen House Gas Emmissions and DBOC

For the full text of the letter, click on the link below:

DBOC to PRNS re GHG Emmissions 03-26-11


10-04-09 Point Reyes Light Editor, Tess Elliott, on Gordon Bennett’s trouble with the truth

I once shared a homemade Pugliese tart with Gordon Bennett in a Starbucks in San Francisco. We had been guests on a show on public radio, along with Kevin Lunny of Drakes Bay Oyster Company. Bennett had made several claims that I knew were false. As we exited the sound room, I suggested we keep chatting, and over slices of pastry I had packed in my purse, I asked Bennett how he could lie on air.

For the rest of the article, go to:



DBOC Letter to Jon Jarvis

“We were heartened by the NPS apology. But a few words in a press release, unfortunately, will
not restore our good name — and neither will it absolve NPS of its responsibility to take
responsibility for the damage it has done to us and to itself. NPS must clean up the situation it
has created for our family and our community, starting with correcting the record of false NPS
We ask that you, in good faith, please clarify this immediately and provide detailed and complete
answers to the questions set forth in this letter.”

For the full text of the letter, copy and past the link below into your web browser: 



Pulitzer Prize winner Dave Mitchel on Why Drakes Estero can never become wilderness

Because the bottomlands of Drakes Estero are under the jurisdiction of the State of California, which by law must forever protect them for fishing, including aquaculture, they can never become part of a Wilderness Area of the National Park Service.

100_0286This legal fact may in the long run be the main obstacle to the Point Reyes National Seashore administration’s machinations to close Drakes Bay Oyster Company three years from now.

For the full article click on the link below or copy and paste the link into your web browser.



an Attorney’s brief re: Drakes Estero

 “In reality, continuation of prior nonconforming uses in wilderness and potential wilderness areas is not infrequent. Continuation of prior nonconforming uses does not in and of itself encourage the spread of new incursions because they are by definition “preexisting.” On the contrary, allowing prior nonconforming uses in wilderness or potential wilderness areas encourages the enlargement of wilderness because it enables creation of wilderness areas without the destruction of beneficial preexisting activities.

The NPS is required to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement in connection with update of the 1980 General Management Plan. Unless NPS forces DBOC out in the meantime, a full and accurate environmental review in connection with update of the 1980 GMP will demonstrate that oyster cultivation in Drakes Estero is an example of a beneficial preexisting activity that should be permitted to continue as a preexisting nonconforming use in a potential wilderness area, an area that is, in all other respects, managed as wilderness.”

For the full article, please click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser.


02-03-09 DBOC

letter to Dr. Susan Roberts, Executive Director Ocean Studies Board, National Academy of Science,

reg: Apparent intentional misrepresentions of scientific factual information regarding harbor seal protocols.

For the full text of the letter, click on the link below:

DBOC letter to NAS 02-03-09



Dr. Corey Goodman letter to Dr. Susan Roberts, director, Dr. Pete Peterson, Chair, and members, Ocean Studies Board panel

“…to investigate NPS science concerning Drakes Estero, National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences regarding New Information Shows that the National Park Service Committed Scientific Misconduct in the Documents it Presented.”

Dr Goodman to NAS 01-18-09



Dr. Goodman letter to Dr. Susan Roberts, Ocean Studies Board, National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences


Dr Goodman to NAS 12-18-07


11-22-96 The Letter from Neubacher to the Bank of Oakland, attesting to the NPS’s intention to renew the lease.

(If then, why not now?)


“….As stated previously, the NPS would like the planned improvements to occur at Johnsons. In fact, the NPS has worked with Marin County planners to insure the facilities attain county approval. Moreover, the Park’s General Management Plan also approved the continued use of the oyster company operation at Johnson on Drakes Estero….”

Click on the link below to see a copy of the actual letter from then Superintendent Don Neubacher to the Bank of Oakland


1996-11-22 Neubacher ltr to Bank of Oakland


11-06-75 Documents show EAC founder Jerry Friedman Supported Oyster Farm

This quote is taken from the letter submitted to ”Senator J. Bennett Johnston, Chairman of the Senate Parks and Recreation Subcommittee”

made a part of the record for ”Hearings on Point Reyes Wilderness Legislation, Before the Subcommittee on Parks and Recreation of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, United States Senate, Ninety-Fourth Congress, 2d Session”

letter addressed to Hon. J. Bennett Johnston, Chairman, Parks and Recreation Subcommittee, Washington, D.C.

found on page 356, in his opening paragraph (emphasis added for clarity):

Mr. Chariman: My name is Jerry Friedman. I am a resident of West Marin and am

  • serving my second term as Chairman of the Marin County Planning Commission
  • During the past four months I have been representing Congressman John Burton on all matters relevant to the House counterpart of S. 2472 H.R. 8003.
  • Today I am here representing the following:
    • Marin Conservation League
    • Tomales Bay Association
    • Inverness Association
    • League of Women Voters
    • Bay Area:
      • Environmental Forum, Marin & Sonoma branches
      • Assemblyman Michael Wornum

(continued at the top of page 357:)

” These organizations not only support S. 2472, but they wholeheartedly endorse the wilderness recommendations of the GGNRA Citizens Advisory Commission….”

“3. All the organizations have deep and serious concerns over the lack of protection presently afforded to the tidal zone at Point Reyes. Such areas as Drake’s and Limantour Estero along with the seal rookery at Double Point deserve wilderness status. The State’s interests in these areas has been minimal with the exception of Limantour Estero which is a Research Natural Area, and we note little activity by the State in the area of patrol or marine resource monitoring during the past years. We accordingly hope that the tidal zone will be managed as wilderness area and we find this approach consistent with the State’s reservation of fishing and mineral rights. We wish to note the following points in this regard:

A.  S.  2472 would allow the continued use and operation of Johnson’s Oyster Company in Drake’s Estero.”

E.  We note nothing in the law which precludes the Congress from designating the tidal zone as wilderness despite the reservation of fishing and mineral rights….”

Page 358:

“….It is rare that so many organizations have agreed upon wilderness legislation for a given area. It is also unusual that such wilderness status DOES NOT IN ANY WAY INTERFERE WITH THE MANNER IN WHICH THE PUBLIC PRESENTLY USES THAT PARK….”

This is followed in the record on page 358 – 361 by the following:

“STATEMENT OF JOHN MITCHELL, SUBCOMMITTEE ON WILDERNESS, [GGNRA] CITIZENS ADVISORY COMMISSION….a fifteen-person Commission appointed in January 1975 by the Secretary of the Interior in accordance with the law establishing the Recreation Area….”

“….The balancing of the various interests represented by our recommendations was derived from a series of public hearings and subcommittee task force meetings. The compromises presented have won acceptance from representatives of each sector of the public that expressed concern. It is therefore hoped that the entire recommendation can be included in the legislation and the Committee report, so that the special provisions necessary at Point Reyes are firmly established. In that way, future administrative decisions can be assured of being in consonance with the principles and the details recommended.


Letter from Vice Chairman for Wilderness Issues, Sierra Club SF Bay Chapter clarifies:

“Wilderness status does not mean an end to the harvesting of oysters in the Estero, or a prohibition on the use of motorboats by the company in carrying out its operations. “

He goes on to state:

“The Wilderness Act permits prior non-conforming commercial uses to continue and the secretary of the Interior can authorize the continued use of motorboats in support of the enterprise. Departmental memoranda express this quite clearly and the regional solicitor has interpreted the act to permit specifically this commercial operation.”

For the complete letter click on the links below:

Wilderness Ltrs Sierra Club 100675 p1

Wilderness Ltrs Sierra Club 100675 p2


05-30-1973 Sierra Club letter to NPS

In a letter from the Chairman of the SF Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club and the Sierra Club Point Reyes Task Force, both the Sierra Club and the Sierra Club Task Force spell out the following on page A-51, paragraph VI:

“The draft Environmental Impact Statement implies that none of Drakes Estero can be classified as wilderness because of Johnson Oyster Farm. this is misleading. The company’s buildings and the access road must be excluded but the estero need not be. The water area can be put under the Wilderness Act even while the oyster culture is continued — it will be a prior existing, non-conforming use. The Reed memo previously cited seems to be speaking to such uses as this. The harvesting operation might be made more compatible if the Park Service were to require Johnson to use electric powered boats.”

For the full letter, click on or copy and paste the below link into your web browser:


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Administrative Misconduct, California, California Oysters, Congressional Hearings, concealment, conspiracy, controversy, corruption, deceit, deception, Dianne Feinstein, Director’s Order #47, Drakes Bay, DOI, DOI IG, DOI OIG, DOI SIO, DOI Inspector General, DOI Policy, Don Neubacher, Dr. Ben Becker, Dr. Corey Goodman, Dr. Goodman, Dr. Sarah Allen, Drake, Drakes, Drakes Bay, Drakes Bay Oyster Company, Drakes Bay Oyster Farm, Drakes Bay Oyster Farm Closing, Drakes Bay Oyster Farm Drakes Estero, EAC, ENVIRON, Environmental Action Committee, environmental impact, Estero, falsification, Feinstein, Fight, fraud, Goodman, investigate, Jon Jarvis, Lunny, Lunnys, major impact, Marin County, Marin County Board Of Supervisors, Machlis, Mary Kendall, moderate impact, Moregenweck, National Park Service, noise, NPS, NPS DEIS, NPS Management policy, NPS SIO, OIG, oyster, oyster boat, oyster boats, oyster farm, oyster farming, oyster tumbler, oysters, Point Reyes, Point Reyes National Seashore, PORE 004, PRNS, RICO, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act [of 1970],Scientific and Scholarly Conduct, Scientific Integrity Officer, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Senator Feinstein, SOI, soundscape, Steve Kinsey, violation, VOLPE, West Marin

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