4-29-15 We didn’t get our day in court however, we exposed the fraud, conspiracy and scientific misconduct of the PRNS, NPS, and DOI

Oyster Farmer: ‘We Are Terrified’ Of The Gov’t
Photo of Michael Bastasch
MICHAEL BASTASCH
4:53 PM 04/29/2015
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The National Park Service used falsified data to shut down an 80-year-old oyster company in Point Reyes, Calif, its owner claims.

Drakes Bay Oyster Company operated in Point Reyes for decades until National Park Service officials used falsified data to force Kevin Lunny’s family-run oyster farm to shut down. The experience has left its mark on Lunny: “We Are Terrified,” he told lawmakers during a hearing Thursday.

“Let me be clear, we did not fail as a business,” Lunny said in his prepared testimony. “This was not bad luck. Rather, the Park Service engaged in a taxpayer-funded enterprise of corruption to run our small business out of Point Reyes.”

Lunny made this statement in response to a question by Republican Rep. Raul Labrador asking whether or not Lunny felt like there could be consequences from his testimony against the National Parks Service.

Even Democratic California Rep. Jared Huffman admitted that in the rush to get rid of industry from Point Reyes, government officials and environmentalists “overstated” evidence that Lunny’s farm was harming the environment.

“No one has apologized,” Lunny said.

Drakes Bay Oyster Company is located in Northern California’s Point Reyes National Seashore, where it has been for decades. Point Reyes isn’t your typical national park because it was created to preserve the historic coastline where people have been settled since the Gold Rush. It was never intended to be a major tourist attraction like Yellowstone.

For decades the Park Service had a good relationship with the oyster company, but that all changed in the mid-2000s. All of the sudden, NPS officials started blaming the company for an 80 percent decline in the local harbor seal population. Officials also blamed Lunny’s farm for upsetting the ecological balance of Drakes Estero.
But all of these accusations against Drakes Bay Oyster Company turned out to be completely false. The National Parks Service lacked any scientific data to back up its claims that the company was killing seals and hurting the local environment. In fact, studies done by the U.S. Geological Survey and the California State Health Department showed the Parks Service was completely wrong.

NPS, however, didn’t stop there and kept making false claims against the oyster company.

“The Park Service misrepresented that study,” Lunny said. “They instead attempted to demonstrate harm by substituting data from a sixty-year-old study conducted at the Sea of Japan and attributing it to our farm.”

“For example, in assessing the noise impact of our small outboard motor boats, the Park Service, rather than measuring our boats on our soundscape [as required], instead used the measurements from a seventy-horsepower, 700cc Kawasaki jet ski in New Jersey,” Lunny added.

Lunny appealed to higher ups at the National Park Service for help in the matter and to correct the record on false statements made by the agency, but he got no help from the government.

“The local Park Service staff were not willing to correct the false claims, so we went to the Regional Director,” Lunny said. “No help there. Then we went to the Park Service Director, and finally the Secretary of Interior. No one, at any level, was willing to admit that false science was being used against us, or to at least correct the record and stop the false accusations.”

The Interior Department’s own inspector general even found misconduct by agency officials and that they misrepresented facts. But even so, the inspector general was powerless to stop Parks Service officials from attacking Lunny’s business.

Eventually, Drakes Bay Oyster Farm closed its doors because of the litigation and regulatory actions taken by the federal government.

“What the Park Service did to our family was unconscionable,” Lunny said. “This polluted legacy of false science has tainted our dealings with state and federal agencies, and has resulted in unnecessary regulatory and legal action against our family and our farm.”

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.”

Copyright Litigation Blog

Copyright law, fine art and navigating the courts. All practice, no theory.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Law on the Half Shell: Film Screening and Discussion On Oysters and the Law October 15 in NYC

Dunnington partner Raymond J. Dowd invites you to a screening of the internationally acclaimed documentary SHELLSHOCKED – Saving Oysters to Save Ourselves and follow-up discussion of the legal controversies brewing over oysters.  The event is to be held on Wednesday, October 15, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. at the New York County Lawyers’ Association (14 Vesey Street, New York, NY).

Formerly known as the oyster capital of the world, New York Harbor is now bereft of oysters.  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.

SHELLSHOCKED – Saving Oysters to Save Ourselves, winner in the category of Best Short Feature at the Princeton Environmental Film Festival 2012, focuses on efforts to restore oysters to the waters where they once thrived and the pushback such undertakings have faced, both legally and environmentally.  Following the screening, SHELLSHOCKED director Emily Driscoll, Meredith Comi of the NY/NJ Baykeeper’s Oyster Restoration Program and internationally renowned geotherapy-focused artist Mara Haseltine will join Mr. Dowd in a discussion of these issues.

Tickets for Law on the Half Shell are available on the NYCLA website.  The cost is $35 for NYCLA members/$55 for non-members (includes 2 CLE credits) and $15 for non-attorneys.  We hope to see you there!

 

About Dunnington partner Raymond J. Dowd  Mr. Dowd’s practice consists of federal and state trial and appellate litigation, arbitration and mediation.  He has served as lead trial counsel in notable cases involving art law, copyrights, trademarks, cybersquatting, privacy, trusts and decedents’ estates, licensing, corporate and real estate transactions.  He has litigated questions of Austrian, Canadian, French, German, Italian, Russian and Swiss law and handled contentious matters in Surrogate’s Court, including Matter of Flamenbaum, 2013 NY Slip Op 07510 (Nov. 14, 2013), in which he succeeded in recovering an ancient Assyrian tablet for the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.

Mr. Dowd is the author of the acclaimed Copyright Litigation Handbook (West-Thomson Reuters) and frequently lectures on copyright litigation, including before the prestigious Copyright Society of the U.S.A.  In 2014, Copyright Litigation Handbook was selected by Cravath partners David Marriott and David Kappos for a copyright dispute externship at Columbia Law School.  At the 2009 Prague Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets, he was selected for an expert legal panel, and he has lectured widely at venues including the Jewish Museum in Berlin, Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the San Francisco War Memorial, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and many chapters of the Federal Bar Association.  In 2007, he co-founded the annual Art Litigation and Dispute Resolution Institute at New York County Lawyers’ Association.

Mr. Dowd is a graduate of Manhattan College (B.A. International Studies cum laude, 1986) and Fordham Law School (1991), where he served on the Fordham International Law Journal.  He speaks French and Italian.  He is admitted to practice in the State of New York and to the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, and to the First, Second, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeals.

Dunnington, Bartholow & Miller LLP was selected as a 2014 Top Ranked Law Firm for Intellectual Property by Corporate Counsel/ALM/The American Lawyer.  Dunnington is a full-service law firm providing corporate, litigation, intellectual property, real estate, taxation and estate planning services for an international clientele.  Find out more at www.dunnington.com.

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!

08-14-14 DBOC’s Opposition to Ca Coastal Commission Motion for New Trial

Please find attached the following documents filed in Marin Superior Court today:
 
–          Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s Opposition to Motion for New Trial; 8.14.14+Final+Opposition+to+Motion+for+New+Trial+120pm
 
–          Declaration of Phyllis Faber ISO Drakes Bay Opposition to Motion for A New Trial; 8.14.14+Faber+decl+ISO+opp+to+new+trial+motion
 
–          Declaration of Larry Giambastiani ISO Drakes Bay; 8.14.14+Decl+of+Larry+Giambastiani
 
–          Declaration of Peter Prows ISO Drakes Bay’s Opposition to Commission’s Motion for New Trial; 8.14.14+Prows+decl+ISO+opp+to+new+trial+motion

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

07/31/2014 PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION TBOC v DOI

 

Case No. 14-3246-YGR
PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR A
PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

Plaintiff seeks an order preliminarily enjoining Defendants the Department of the Interior (“DOI”) and the National Park Service (“NPS,” collectively with the DOI and the respective head of each, “Interior Defendants”), until this Court decides the merits of this lawsuit: (a) from evicting Drakes Bay Oyster Company (“DBOC”) or its employees; (b) from implementing the Secretary of the Interior’s decision to close the DBOC oyster farm; (c) and to allow the continued operation of the DBOC oyster farm.
STATEMENT OF ISSUES TO BE DECIDED
1. Are Plaintiffs likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absent the requested relief?
2. Are Plaintiffs likely to suceed likely to succeed on one or more of their claims and/or have they raised serious questions concerning them?

3. Do the balance of the hardships and public interest factors tip in favor issuance of the requested preliminary injunction?

 

For the entire brief click on or copy and paste the link below:

Gross Bagley filing 07-31-14

 

07/31/2014 West Marin Citizen: Bear Flag Flies over DBOC

By Shelly Ingram
West Marin lawful advocate and Forest Knolls resident, Barbara Scott, organized a common law court that convened on Monday, July 28 in Point Reyes to decide the Drakes Bay Oyster Company court case.
No members of the Supreme Court were in evidence.
The ten-person jury (reduced to nine when one member was later removed because of ties to the farm itself) unanimously voted to transfer all leases held by the farm to the Republic of California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The California Republic Bear Flag will now fly over the Inverness farm.
Resulting documents will be filed at the Marin County recorders office on July 31. This court’s decision may have no influence on the state or federal courts. But, Scott said it did serve as an opportunity to promote good feeling and camaraderie among the more than two-dozen people in attendance.

For the transcript, click on the link below:

DRAKESBAYCERTIFIEDETRANSCRIPT

Exhibits from the trial:

Exhibits for DBOC Constitutional Jury Trial

 

 

7/31/2014 Pt Reyes Light: Common law jury finds oyster closure illegal

Common law jury finds oyster closure illegal

07/31/2014

Something unusual happened Monday night at the fire station meeting room in Point Reyes: citizens actually volunteered for jury duty. Drakes Bay Oyster Company supporters took the law into their own hands in a civil trial. After 22 minutes of deliberation, the jury of 10 locals—including Dave Brast, Melinda Leithold, Chloe Cook, Jude Vasconcellos, Linda Peterson and Loretta Murphy, the farm’s manager and a plaintiff in another lawsuit—returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the Lunnys, finding their operating lease should be renewed and transferred back to the state to allow the oyster farm to continue operating. Seated around a circle of tables under a state flag pinned to the wall that repeatedly fell during the hour-long trial, the jury listened to testimony from scientist and agricultural consultant Jeff Creque, Oysterzone blogger Jane Gyorgy and Tomales Bay Association president Ken Fox. The legal teams for the government and the Lunnys were duly noticed, but neither showed. A certified court reporter recorded a transcript, and someone dropped the decision off at the Civic Center the next day. The trial’s constitutional justifications were dubious at best—relying on the Seventh Amendment, which normally does not apply to suits against the federal government—and its administrative proceedings even worse—a biased jury, a one-sided trial. But the evening gathering gave a small group of supporters a chance they’ve been lacking until now: a chance to reclaim some control after lawyers, judges and officials distant to the West Marin imagination wielded it for the last 19 months, and a chance to air their emotions over losing their local farm. Perhaps the most popular witness Monday night was Rev. Robert Weldy, the priest at St. Columba’s Church in Inverness. He didn’t come with exhibits, letters or reports. No one asked him any questions. He spoke about going to the oyster farm on Sunday and witnessing the families picnicking, kids and pets running around. He said Drakes Bay Oyster Company was the happiest place on earth, better than Disneyland. The jury liked that, and they voted his way.
For the transcript, click on the link below:
For the Exhibits, click on the link below:

07/28/14 Injunction hearing set for September, Shack & canning closes Thursday, 7-31-14

Shack and canning closes Thursday, 4:30PM, 7-31-14

Harvesting continues at least 30 more days

Both lawsuits ARE STILL PENDING

Injunction hearing (TBOC et al v DOI et al) set for September.

07-27-14 TBOC et al v DOI et al Complaint for Declaratory & Injunctive Relief, Memorandum of Points and Authorities & Stipulation and Proposed Order re Briefing Schedule

Friends of Drakes Bay Oyster Company:

These documents, were not delivered to me for posting on www.OysterZone.org until today.

Please note, whereas, the retail and cannery will still be closing on 31 July, in the words of Yogi Berra – “It isn’t over until its over!”

Below, please find three recent filings:

  1. Brief Filed 07-17-14, a fuller title being Tomales Bay Oyster Co (and others) Plaintiffs, v. USDOI, USNPS, Jonathan Jarvis, NOAA office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Mgmt and Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Mgmt, in the case of “Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief (20 pages)
  2. Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Plaintiffs’ Application and Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction (29 pages)
  3. Tomales Bay Oyster Company et al. Plaintiffs v USDOI et al Defendants Case No: 3:14-cv-03246 YGR STIPULATION AND [PROPOSED] ORDER RE: BRIEFING SCHEDULE

Briefly,

  • The First attachment, which I have named 07-17-14 TBOC et al vs DOI, is the “COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF” filed 07-17-14
    • the Introduction brings us through vital points leading to the memorandum decision ordering the closure of DBOC
      • the erroneous position taken by the DOI sweeping away any statute or regulation that might otherwise have applied
      • the arbitrary, capricious and in violation of the law ignoring of procedural constraints that legally applied to this decision and failure to comply with them
      • NOAA-OCRM’s arbitrary, capricious and in violation of the law determination order requiring a consistency certification to the CCC
      • the plaintiff’s loss of critical components of locally harvested oyster supplies causing them to suffer irreparable losses of business and that Defendants’ procedural failures etc., were not adequately analyzed or considered
      • the request the Court
      • hold unlawful and set aside the decision to close DBOC and the NOAA decision requiring a consistency certification
      • enjoin Defendants to engage in a decision making process that complies with the law
      • In the interim, Plaintiffs seek a temporary restraining order and injunctive relief
    • the Parties section, please pay particular attention to item 20, regarding Plaintiff Jeffrey Creque
      • Who qualifications include
        • a PhD in Rangeland Ecology,
        • CA St Bd of Forestry Certified Professional in Rangeland management, a
        • is a founding member and member of the board of ALSA, a citizens group dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of the natural environment and ecologically sustainable agriculture in Marin County.
      • Who holds that encouragement of the cultivation of shellfish is an ecologically benign and even beneficial food production system fro environmental reasons including
        • shellfish aquaculture, particularly oyster culture, is widely recognized as a carbon neutral or carbon beneficial source of highest quality marine protein
        • shellfish aquaculture is a critical tool for the preservation and restoration of the world’s threatened marine ecosystems.
        • all shellfish cultivated in Drakes Estero are sold locally thereby directly reducing the carbon costs of global food production and transport.
        • ensuring that federal agencies adhere to national policies that call for increased – not decreased – shellfish production
    • the Facts section (pages 8-11, please read these yourself, they speak for themselves)
    • the Causes of Action
      • Count 1: Violation of the National Aquaculture Act and the APA (pg 11-13)
      • Count 2: Violation of the CZMA and the APA (pg 13-15)
      • Count 3: Violation of the APA (pg 15-16)
      • Count 4: Violation of the CZMA and the APA (pg 16-17)
    • Requested Relief (pg 18-19)

 

The Second attachment, which I have named 07-07-14 TBOC et al vs DOI Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Plaintiff Application and Motion.

  • Read this (and all attached documents) in its entirety.

 

The Third Document, which I have named 07-24-14 Stipulation and Proposed Order RE: Briefing Schedule, briefly put stipulates:

  1. Plaintiffs withdraw their Application and Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction
  2. Plaintiffs intend to file a Motion for Preliminary Injunction before July 31, 2014 and Defendants shall file their Opposition on or before august 26, 2014; Plaintiffs shall file their Reply on or before September 2, 2014
  3. Request Motion be heard by the Court on September 9, 2014
  4. Plaintiffs’ may seek a preliminary injunction on shortened time, and will discuss adjustments to the briefing schedule accordingly.

 

For the complete documents:

07-17-14 TBOC et al vs DOI et al Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

07-17-14 TBOC et al vs DOI et al Memorandum of Points and Authorities in support of Plaintiff Application and Motion

07-24-14 Stipulation and Proposed Order re Briefing Schedule

 

06-27-14 Marin Co Sup Court DBOC WINS OVER CCC, CCC ABUSED DISCRETION & VIOLATED the LAW

“DRAKES BAY OYSTER WAS VINDICATED TODAY

in its fight against unjust enforcement orders imposed last year

BY THE CALIFORNIA COASTAL COMMISSION.

The Marin County Superior Court 

OVERTURNED THOSE ORDERS IN EVERY SIGNIFICANT EFFECT,

finding that the

COMMISSION’S

UNFAIR PROCESS

WAS AN

ABUSE OF DISCRETION

AND A

VIOLATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAW.”

 

June 27, 2014  Media Contact: Tina Walker Office: 415.227.9700 Cell: 650.248.1037 Email: tina@singersf.com    

 

Drakes Bay Wins: Court Overturns California Coastal Commission Orders Against Oyster Farm Commission abused its discretion and violated environmental law

INVERNESS, CALIF. — Drakes Bay Oyster was vindicated today in its fight against unjust enforcement orders imposed last year by the California Coastal Commission. The Marin County Superior Court overturned those orders in every significant respect, finding that the Commission’s unfair process was an abuse of discretion and a violation of environmental law.

 

The enforcement orders were based on false allegations for which there was no evidence. Before a hearing last February, expert evidence disproving the allegations was provided by the Lunnys, but the Commission voted to exclude all the evidence the Lunnys presented in their own defense.

 

“This is a good day for California,” said Phyllis Faber, a Marin County environmental activist and biologist who was a founding member of the Commission. “The Coastal Commission had seriously abused its power. It was necessary to hold them accountable.”

 

Now that the Commission’s unfair enforcement orders have been overturned, the oyster farm and the Commission can get back to working on a permit for the farm.

 

Drakes Bay’s lawsuit against the Coastal Commission is separate from its suit against the National Park Service, which is currently pending at the U.S. Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court could decide as soon as Monday whether to take Drakes Bay’s case.

 

About Drakes Bay Oyster Company

The historic oyster farm in Drakes Estero, located in Point Reyes, Marin County, has been part of the community for nearly 100 years. The Lunnys, a fourth-generation Point Reyes ranching family, purchased the oyster farm in 2004. Modern environmentalists and proponents of sustainable agriculture praise Drakes Bay Oyster as a superb example of how people can produce high-quality food in harmony with the environment. The farm produces approximately one third of all oysters grown in California, and employs 30 members of the community. The Lunnys also contribute the oyster shells that make possible the restoration of native oysters in San Francisco Bay and the oyster shells used to create habitat for the endangered Snowy Plover and Least Tern. As the last oyster cannery in California, Drakes Bay is the only local (and thus the only safe and affordable) source of these shells. The Lunny family is proud of its contributions to a sustainable food model that conserves and maintains the productivity of the local landscapes and the health of its inhabitants. For more information, please visit www.drakesbayoyster.comand www.savedrakesbay.com

06-10-2014 DBOC Reply Brief in Supreme Court

Please click the link below to read the actual brief

 

DBOC Reply Brief in Supreme Court

06-10-2014 DBOC Files Reply Brief in US Supreme Court – shows Govt Arguments are wrong

June 10, 2014
Contacts: Tina Walker
Office: 415.227.9700
Cell: 650.248.1037
Email: tina@singersf.com

Peter Prows
Counsel for Drakes Bay Oyster Company
Email: pprows@briscoelaw.net
Drakes Bay Oyster Files Reply Brief in U.S. Supreme Court
Brief shows that the government’s arguments are wrong and that the Supreme Court should take the case
INVERNESS, CALIF. — Drakes Bay Oyster Company today filed its reply to the government’s brief opposing the oyster farm’s petition to have the U.S. Supreme Court hear the case.

Drakes Bay petitioned the high court on April 14, 2014 for a writ of certiorari to review the judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in its case against the government.

At stake is whether the government, in making countless everyday decisions, can be taken to court when it abuses its power. The Ninth Circuit held last fall that a federal court does not have jurisdiction to review a discretionary agency decision for abuse of discretion.

The government filed a brief on May 27, 2014 opposing the oyster farm’s petition.

The brief filed today points out the weaknesses of the government’s opposition brief. Drakes Bay has argued that the high court should take the case to resolve “the mother of all circuit splits.” A circuit split is an issue on which two or more circuits in the U.S. court of appeals system have given different interpretations of federal law.

The splits in this case are on three critical issues: jurisdiction to review agency actions for abuse of discretion, applicability of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and prejudicial error under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

The government’s brief does not dispute the existence of these splits, that these splits affect a fundamental issue of administrative law, or that the issue is of national importance.

The small, family-owned farm has been in a years-long heated legal battle with federal regulators for its survival. At issue is former Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar’s denial in November 2012 of Drakes Bay’s permit to continue operating the 80-year-old oyster farm, even though the original deal for the creation of Point Reyes National Seashore—supported by the Park Service, the Sierra Club, the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin, and every other interested environmental and civic group—was that the oyster farm was always supposed to stay as an important part of the agricultural and cultural history of Point Reyes.

Because Drakes Bay showed that there is a “reasonable probability” that the Supreme Court will take this case and a “significant possibility” that the oyster farm will win, the Ninth Circuit has allowed Drakes Bay to remain open while it takes its case to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court could decide whether to take this case as early as the end of this month.

About Drakes Bay Oyster Company
The historic oyster farm in Drakes Estero, located in Point Reyes, Marin County, has been part of the community for nearly 100 years. The Lunnys, a fourth-generation Point Reyes ranching family, purchased the oyster farm in 2004. Modern environmentalists and proponents of sustainable agriculture praise Drakes Bay Oyster as a superb example of how people can produce high-quality food in harmony with the environment. The farm produces approximately one third of all oysters grown in California, and employs 30 members of the community. The Lunnys also contribute the oyster shells that make possible the restoration of native oysters in San Francisco Bay and the oyster shells used to create habitat for the endangered Snowy Plover and Least Tern. As the last oyster cannery in California, Drakes Bay is the only local (and thus the only safe and affordable) source of these shells. The Lunny family is proud of its contributions to a sustainable food model that conserves and maintains the productivity of the local landscapes and the health of its inhabitants. For more information, please visit http://www.drakesbayoyster.com and http://www.savedrakesbay.com

 

For the full brief, click the link below:

DBOC Reply Brief in Supreme Court

05-19-2014 PLF and Ca Cattlemen’s Association AMICUS CURIAE Brief

  (Unfortunately, Adobe PDF file converter has a tendency to run words together

so I am providing access both through the link below as well as by scrolling down to read the ‘converted file.)

 

05-19-2014 PLF and Ca Cattlemen Assn Brief

 

  1. 13-1244

Inthe

SupremeCourtoftheUnitedStates

                        Ë                         

DRAKESBAYOYSTERCOMPANYandKEVINLUNNY,

Petitioners,

SALLYJEWELL,SecretaryoftheUnitedStatesDepartmentoftheInterior,etal.,

                        Ë                         

OnPetitionforWritofCertioraritotheUnitedStatesCourtofAppeals

fortheNinthCircuit

                        Ë                         

BRIEFAMICUSCURIAEOFPACIFICLEGALFOUNDATIONAND

CALIFORNIACATTLEMEN’SASSOCIATIONINSUPPORTOFPETITIONERS

                        Ë                         

DAMIENM.SCHIFF

*ANTHONYL.FRANÇOIS

*CounselofRecordPacificLegalFoundation930GStreet

Sacramento,California95814

Telephone:(916)419-7111

Facsimile:(916)419-7747

E-mail:dms@pacificlegal.orgE-mail:alf@pacificlegal.org

CounselforAmiciCuriaePacificLegalFoundationand

CaliforniaCattlemen’sAssociation

 

 

 

 

 

 

i

 

QUESTIONSPRESENTED

  1. WhetherthefederalcourtslackjurisdictionundertheAdministrativeProcedure Acttoreviewanagencyactionthatisarbitraryandcapriciousoranabuseofdiscretionwhenthestatuteauthorizingtheactiondoesnotimposespecificrequirementsgoverningtheexerciseofdiscretion.
  2. WhetherfederalagenciescanevadereviewoftheiractionsundertheNationalEnvironmentalPolicyActbydesignatingtheiractionsas“conservationefforts,”whentherecordshowsthattheactionwillcausesignificantadverseenvironmentaleffects.
  3. Whetheranagencycommitsprejudicialerrorwhenitmakesmateriallyfalsestatementsinanenvironmentalimpactstatement,andthenassertsthatitwouldhavemadethesamedecisionevenifthefalsestatementshadbeencorrected.

 

 

 

 

 

ii

 

 

TABLEOFCONTENTS

 

Page

 

QUESTIONS PRESENTED……………………………….. i

TABLE OF AUTHORITIES……………………………… iv

INTEREST OF AMICI CURIAE…………………………. 1

INTRODUCTIONANDSUMMARYOFREASONSFOR

GRANTINGTHEPETITION……………………… 3

REASONSFORGRANTINGTHEPETITION……… 6

  1. Bureaugrazingpermitdecisionsregulateapredominantuseofover150millionacresofthenation’sfederallands,almostallofwhichfall

withintheNinthorTenth Circuits……………… 6

  1. TheCourtshouldgrantthePetitionbecausetheNinthandTenthCircuitsaresplitontwolegalstandardsfor

grazing permit renewals……………………………. 9

  1. TheNinthCircuitholdsthatadecisionnottorenewanaturalresourcepermitisexemptfromNEPAiftheagencycharacterizesthedecisionasaconservationeffort,whiletheTenthCircuit

rejectsprecisely suchanexemption……….. 9

 

TABLEOFCONTENTS—Continued

  1. TheBureaucannotarbitrarilyorcapriciouslyrefusetorenewagrazingpermitwithoutansweringtothefederalcourtsundertheAdministrativeProcedureActintheTenthCircuit,butitcanrefuse

 

Page

 

renewalswithimpunityintheNinth. ..14CONCLUSION……………………………………… 17

 

TABLEOFAUTHORITIES

Cases

 

Page

 

Bacav.King,92F.3d1031(10thCir.1996) .. 15-16

CapeHatterasAccessPres.Alliancev.Dep’tofInterior,344F.Supp.2d108(D.D.C.2004) …12

CatronCountyBd.ofComm’rs,NewMexicov.

U.S.Fish&WildlifeServ.,

75F.3d1429(10thCir.1996)………. 5,11-13

CitizenstoPreserveOvertonPark,Inc.v.

Volpe,401U.S.402(1971)………………………. 14-15

DiamondRingRanch,Inc.v.Morton,

531F.2d1397(10thCir. 1976)……… 4,15-16

DouglasCountyv.Babbitt,

48F.3d1495(9thCir.1995)……….. 5,10-13

DrakesBayOysterCov.Jewell,

  1. 13-15227,2014WL114699

(9thCir.Jan.14,2014)……. 3-5,10-11,14,16

InrePolarBearEndangeredSpeciesActListingand§4(d)RuleLitigation,

818F.Supp.2d214(D.D.C.2011)……………….. 12

Merrellv.Thomas,807F.2d776(9thCir.1986)..10

MiddleRioGrandeConservancyDist.v.Norton,

294F.3d1220(10thCir.2002)……………………… 12

Mollohanv.Gray,413F.2d349

(9thCir. 1969). . .. . .. . .. .. . .. . .. .. . . 4,14-15

NessInv.Corpv.USDA.,ForestServ.,

512F.2d706(9thCir. 1975)…………..4,14

 

NessInv.Corpv.USDA,ForestService,

360F. Supp. 127 (D. Ariz. 1973)………………. 15-16

Rapanosv.UnitedStates,547U.S.715(2006)…….. 1

Sabinv.Butz,515F.2d1061

(10th Cir.1975)……………………………………… 15-16

Sackettv. E.P.A., 132 S. Ct. 1367(2012)…………….. 1

SanLuis&Delta-MendotaWaterAuthorityv.

Jewell,No.11-15871,2014WL975130(9thCir.Mar. 13,2014)…………………………………….. 10

SolidWasteAgencyofNorthernCookCountyv.

U.S.ArmyCorpsofEngineers,

531 U.S.159 (2001)……………………………………… 1

Stricklandv.Morton,

519 F.2d467 (9th Cir.1975)………………………… 14

UtahSharedAccessAlliancev.Carpenter,

463 F.3d1125 (10th Cir. 2006)……………………… 12

UtahnsforBetterTransp.v.UnitedStatesDep’t

ofTransp., 305F.3d1152(10thCir. 2002)……… 13

Rules

  1. Ct.R.37.2(a)…………………………………………… 1
  2. Ct.R.37.6………………………………………………. 1

Statutes

5 U.S.C.§701(a)(2)……………………………………….. 14

43U.S.C. §315b . .. . . . .. . . . .. . . . .. . . . . .. .4,15Pub.L.No.111-88,123Stat.2904(2009)…..3,15

 

Miscellaneous

Buccino,Sharon,NEPAUnderAssault:CongressionalandAdministrative

ProposalsWouldWeakenEnvironmentalReviewandPublicParticipation,

12N.Y.U.Envtl.L.J.50(2003)…………………….. 13

Bureauwebsite,availableathttp://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/grazing.html(lastvisitedMay12,2014)…………………………….. 6

PublicLandsCouncil,PublicLandsGrazing,AnIntegralSegmentoftheU.S.LivestockIndustry,availableathttp://publiclandscouncil.org/CMDocs/PublicLandsCouncil/New%20Website/Public%20Lands%20Ranching%20Overview.pdf(lastvisitedMay12,2014)……… 9

U.S.Dep’tofInterior,BureauofLandMgmt.,FiscalYear2012RangelandInventory,Monitoring,andEvaluationReport,availableathttp://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/wo/Planning_and_Renewable_Resources/rangeland.Par.30896.File.dat/Rangeland

2012.pdf(lastvisitedMay12,2014)………………… 7

U.S.GeneralServicesAdministration,FederalRealPropertyProfileasofSeptember30,2004,Table16,at18-19,availableathttp://www.gsa.

 

gov/graphics/ogp/Annual_Reportl_R2M-n11_0Z5RDZ-i34K-pR.pdf

 

FY2004_Fina

 

(lastvisitedMay 12, 2014)………………………….. 7-8

 

PursuanttoRule37.2(a),PacificLegalFoundation(PLF)andCaliforniaCattlemen’sAssociation(CCA)respectfullysubmitthisbriefamicuscuriaeinsupportofthePetitioners.1

PLFisthemostexperiencedpublicinterestlegalorganizationadvancinganddefendingconstitutionalrightsandlimitationsongovernmentintheareaofenvironmentallaw.PLF’sattorneyshaveparticipatedasleadcounselorcounselforamiciinseveralcasesbeforethisCourtinvolvingaccesstofederalcourtsandjudicialoversightofagencyaction.See,e.g.,Sackettv.E.P.A.,132S.Ct.1367(2012);Rapanosv.United

States,547U.S.715(2006);SolidWasteAgencyofNorthernCookCounty v.U.S. ArmyCorpsofEngineers,531U.S.159(2001).

CCAisamutualbenefitcorporationorganizedunderCalifornialawin1923asan“agriculturalandhorticultural,nonprofit,cooperativeassociation”topromotetheinterestsoftheindustry.MembershipintheCCAisopentoanypersonorentityengagedinbreeding,producing,maturing,orfeedingcattle,orwholeaseslandforcattleproduction.TheCCAisthe

 

1PursuanttothisCourt’sRule37.2(a),allpartieshaveconsentedtothefilingofthisbrief.Counselofrecordforallpartiesreceivednoticeatleast10dayspriortotheduedateofAmiciCuriae’sintentiontofilethisbrief.LettersevidencingsuchconsenthavebeenfiledwiththeClerkoftheCourt.

PursuanttoRule37.6,AmiciCuriaeaffirmthatnocounselforanypartyauthoredthisbriefinwholeorinpart,andnocounselorpartymadeamonetarycontributionintendedtofundthepreparationorsubmissionofthisbrief.NopersonotherthanAmiciCuriae,theirmembers,ortheir counselmadeamonetarycontributiontoitspreparationorsubmission.

 

 

predominantorganizationofcattlegrazersinCaliforniaand,actinginconjunctionwithitsaffiliatedlocalorganizations,itendeavorstopromoteanddefendtheinterestsofthelivestockindustry.CCAhasseveral memberswhoranch withintheboundariesofthePointReyesNationalSeashoreunderreservationsofuse andoccupancy and/or special use permitsfromtheNationalParkService,andthesemembershaveastronginterestinensuringthattheNationalParkServicecomplieswithapplicablelawswhenactingonfuturerenewalsoftheirpermits.CCAalsohasmanymemberswhoholdfederallyissuedgrazingpermitsinmanyareas ofCalifornia,andthedecisionbelowimpactshowtheAdministrativeProcedureAct(APA)andtheNationalEnvironmentalPolicyAct(NEPA)applytoagencyactionsonthosepermits.

CCAmembersandotherfederalgrazingpermitholdersintheNinthCircuitcurrentlylackaccesstothefederalcourtsequaltothatenjoyedbyidenticallysituatedfederalgrazingpermitholdersintheTenthCircuit.And,underthedecisionbelow,federalagenciesareexemptfromNEPAwhentheyrefusetorenewCCAmembers’grazingpermitsintheNinthCircuit,whileintheTenthCircuitthesame agenciesaresubjecttoNEPA.

 

 

INTRODUCTIONANDSUMMARYOFREASONS

FORGRANTINGTHEPETITION

ThePetitionpresentsthequestionwhetherfederalcourtslackjurisdictionundertheAPAtoreviewanagencyactionforabuseofdiscretionwhentheauthorizingstatutefortheactionlacksspecificlimitationsonthescopeoftheagency’sdiscretion.Petitionat1.ThePetitionidentifiesabroadsplitamongvariousfederalcircuitcourtsonthisquestion,includingseveralspecificexamplesofcasesinwhichdifferentcircuitshavegivenconflictinganswerstothisquestioninthecontextofthesameclassofagencydecisions.Id.at14-18.

OneofthecircuitsplitslistedasabasisforgrantingthePetitionisbetweentheNinthandTenthCircuitsontheissueofAPAreviewoffederalgrazingpermitdecisions.Id.at19.Thisbriefprovidesadditionaldetailonthisissue’simportancetothousandsofranchingfamiliesacrossthenation,andwhytheCourtshouldgrantthePetitiontoresolvethiscircuitsplitaffectingtensofmillionsofacresoffederalgrazinglands.

ThedecisionbelowinvolvestheInteriorSecretary’srefusaltorenewapermitforanexistingoysterfarminanationalseashoreundersection124ofPublic Law 111-88, 123 Stat. 2904, 2932 (2009)

(Section124),andthescopeofjudicialreviewunderthatstatute.DrakesBayOysterCov.Jewell, No.13-15227,2014WL114699,at*1(9thCir.Jan.14,2014).

ThequestionspresentedinthePetitionareimportantfarbeyondthisonepermitorstatute.Thousandsofranchersgrazelivestockontensofmillionsofacresoffederallandunderrenewablefederalgrazingpermits

 

 

inthestatescomprisingtheNinthandTenthCircuits.TheBureauofLandManagement(Bureau)renewsthesepermitsundertheTaylorGrazingAct,43U.S.C.

  • 315b,whichaffordstheBureauthesamebroaddiscretionthatSection124affordstheInteriorSecretary(Secretary).

DrakesBayentrenchespriorNinthCircuitcaselawholdingthatBureaugrazingpermitdecisionsarenotsubjecttoAPAreview.DrakesBayreliesonNessInv.Corpv.USDA.,ForestServ.,512F.2d706(9thCir.1975),inholdingthattheSecretary’srefusaltorenewtheoysterfarm’spermitisnotsubjecttoAPAreview.DrakesBay,2014 WL 114699,at*1,6.NessinturnreliesontheNinthCircuit’sdecisioninMollohanv.Gray,413F.2d349,352(9thCir.1969),whichholdsthatdecisionsongrazingpermitsundertheTaylorGrazingActarenotsubjecttojudicialreviewundertheAPA.SeeNess,512F.2dat716(“wesharetheviewofthepanel[]whichdecidedMollohan”).TheNinth Circuit conflictswiththe Tenth CircuitonjudicialreviewofgrazingpermitdecisionsundertheAPA.DiamondRing Ranch,Inc.v.Morton,531F.2d1397,1406(10thCir.1976)(“TheTaylorGrazingActdoesnotfallwithinthelimitedclassofnon-reviewability.”).SincealmostallfederallandsmanagedundergrazingpermitsareintheNinthorTenthCircuits,thissplitdividesvirtuallytheentirerelevantpartofthecountryforpurposesoffederalgrazingmanagement.GrantingthePetitionwillprovidethisCourttheabilitytoresolvemuchmorethanwhethertheSecretary’srefusaltorenewtheoysterfarm’spermitissubjecttoAPAreview;itwillalsoresolvethesplitbetweentheNinthandTenthCircuitsonwhetherrenewaldecisionsonmorethan

 

 

18,000grazingpermits,regulating155-millionacresoffederalland,aresubjecttoAPAreview.

ThedecisionbelowalsoholdsthattheSecretary’srefusaltorenewapermitforapre-existingactivityisnotsubject to NEPA ifthe refusalischaracterized asa“conservation effort,”relyingonthe NinthCircuit’sholdinginDouglasCountyv.Babbitt,48F.3d1495,1505-06(9thCir.1995)(criticalhabitatdesignationundertheEndangeredSpeciesActnotsubjecttoNEPAbecause“ESAfurthersthegoalsofNEPA”).DrakesBay,2014WL114699,at*12.TheNinthCircuitalsoconflictswiththeTenthCircuitontheapplicationofNEPAtoagencyactionsthatpurporttobenefittheenvironment.CatronCountyBd.ofComm’rs,NewMexicov.U.S.Fish&WildlifeServ.,75F.3d1429,1437(10thCir.1996)(environmentalconservationpurposedoesnotexemptfederalactionfromNEPA).BecauseDrakesBayextendsDouglasCountytopermitnonrenewals,itisprecedentthatNEPAdoesnotapplytorefusalstorenewfederalgrazingpermitsintheNinthCircuit.Assuch,DrakesBayalsoconflictswiththeTenthCircuit’sdecisioninCatronCounty.

TheCourtshouldgrantthePetitiontoresolvethesplitsbetweentheNinthandTenthCircuitsonwhetherapermitrenewaldecisionissubjecttoAPAreview,andwhetherNEPAappliestoarefusaltorenewapermitiftheagencycharacterizestherefusalasenvironmentallybeneficial.

 

 

REASONSFOR  GRANTINGTHEPETITION

I

Bureaugrazingpermitdecisionsregulateapredominantuseofover150millionacresofthenation’sfederallands,almostallofwhichfallwithintheNinthorTenthCircuits.

LivestockgrazingunderBureaupermitsisoneofthemajorusesoffederallandinelevenwesternstatescomprisingmuchoftheNinthandTenthCircuits.TheBureau managesroughly 245-million acres of federalland.Ofthoseacres,155million—orapproximately63%—areusedforlivestock grazingundermorethan18,000Bureaupermitscovering21,000separategrazingallotments.2

Asthetablebelowshows,almostalloftheseallotmentsareineithertheNinthorTenthCircuits.WhiletheNinthCircuithasappellatejurisdictionoverabouttwo-thirdsofthefederalgrazingacreage,thenumberofgrazingpermitsisfairlyevenlydividedbetweenthetwocircuits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Bureauwebsite,availableathttp://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/grazing.html(lastvisitedMay12,2014).

 

 

Circuit/State BureauAllot-ments3 Allot-mentAcres(millions) %federallyownedland4
NinthCircuit
California 681 7.2 45.30%
Oregon/Washington 2,028 13.6 53.11%/30.33%
Arizona 820 11.4 48.06%
Nevada 798 43.4 84.48%
Idaho 2,175 11.5 50.19%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3ThenumberofallotmentsandallotmentacreagefromtheBureau’s2012RangelandInventory,Monitoring,andEvaluationReport,Table6,availableathttp://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/wo/Planning_and_Renewable_Resources/rangeland.Par.30896.File.dat/Rangeland2012.pdf(lastvisitedMay12,2014).

 

4Percentageofeachstatewhichisfederallyowned,fromU.S.GeneralServicesAdministration,FederalRealPropertyProfileasofSeptember30,2004,Table16,at18-19,availableathttp://www.gsa.gov/graphics/ogp/Annual_ReportFY2004_Final_R2M-n11_0Z5RDZ-i34K-pR.pdf(lastvisitedMay12,2014).

 

 

Montana/Dakotas5 5,222 8.2 29.92%/4.49%
TotalNinthCircuit 11,724 95.3 48.58%
TenthCircuit
NewMexico 2,282 12.8 41.77%
Utah 1,393 21.6 57.45%
Wyoming 3,531 17.6 42.33%
Colorado 2,416 7.9 36.63%
TotalTenthCircuit 9,622 59.9 43.77%

 

ThisdatashowsthatabouthalfofthelandinthewesternUnited States isfederallyowned.Accordingto the U.S. General ServicesAdministration, grazingisthesecondmostpredominantspecificuseoffederallands,6andthefivestateswiththelargestfederallandholdingsareallintheNinthCircuit.AccordingtothePublicLandsCouncil,anorganizationofstateandnationalcattle,sheep,andgrasslandassociations,

 

5Montana,intheNinthCircuit,andtheDakotas,intheEighthCircuit,aremanagedbyoneBureaustateoffice,anddataonallotmentsandacresexclusivelyforMontanaarenotreadilyavailable.ThelowpercentageoffederallandintheDakotassuggeststhatmostoftheallotmentsandgrazingacresshownareinMontana.ThetotalsfortheNinthCircuitstatesincludethecombinedallotmentandallotmentacresfiguresforMontanaandtheDakotas,butdonotincludetheDakotasinthetotalpercentageoffederallandownedintheNinthCircuitstates.

 

6   FederalRealPropertyProfile2004,supra,Table14,at16.

 

 

approximately40%ofthebeefcowsinthewesternUnitedStates,andhalfofthenation’ssheepherds,spendsometimeingrazingallotmentsonpubliclands.Averylargenumberofruralcommunitiesaredependentonfederallypermittedgrazingforemployment,commerce,andtaxrevenuetosupportpublicservices.7

WiththeNinthandTenthCircuitseachgoverningabouthalfofallfederalgrazingpermits,thesetwocircuits mustbealigned on fundamentalquestions oflawrelatingtorenewalofgrazingpermits,includingtheapplicationofNEPA,andjudicialreviewundertheAPA.

II

TheCourtshouldgrant

thePetitionbecausetheNinthandTenthCircuitsaresplitontwolegalstandardsforgrazingpermitrenewals.

  1. TheNinthCircuitholdsthatadecisionnottorenewanaturalresourcepermitisexemptfromNEPAiftheagencycharacterizesthedecisionasaconservationeffort,whiletheTenthCircuitrejectspreciselysuchanexemption.

Bycharacterizingtherefusaltorenewafederalgrazingpermitasaconservationaction,theBureauneednotcomplywithNEPAforpermitsthroughout

 

7PublicLandsCouncil,PublicLandsGrazing,AnIntegralSegmentoftheU.S.LivestockIndustry,availableathttp://publiclandscouncil.org/CMDocs/PublicLandsCouncil/New

%20Website/Public%20Lands%20Ranching%20Overview.pdf(lastvisitedMay12,2014).

 

 

 

 

 

10

 

theNinthCircuit,includingjustinsidetheeasternbordersofArizona, Nevada,andIdaho.But,theagencymustcomplywithNEPAforidenticaldecisionsintheneighboringTenthCircuitstatesofNewMexico,Utah,andWyoming.

Thedecisionbelowholdsthatafederalagency’srefusaltorenewanexistingpermitisnotsubjecttoNEPAiftherefusalpurportstobea“conservationeffort,”evenwheretherecordshowsthatfailuretorenewhasadverseimpacts. DrakesBay,2014WL114699,at*12.8DrakesBayechoestheNinthCircuit’sdecisioninDouglasCounty,48F.3dat1506(designationofcriticalhabitatundertheEndangeredSpeciesActexemptfromNEPAbecausehabitatdesignationfurthersNEPA’spurpose).DrakesBayandDouglasCountybothrestontherationalethatactionsintendedtobenefittheenvironmentshouldnotbesubjectedtothe“obstructionisttactic”ofcomplyingwithNEPA.DrakesBay,2014WL114699,at*13(citingDouglasCounty,48F.3dat1508).

DouglasCountyaddressedtheapplicationofNEPAtocriticalhabitatdesignationsasanissueoffirstimpressionin1995.48F.3dat1501.DouglasCountyfirstheldthatdesignationofcriticalhabitatisexemptfromNEPAbyanalogizingtoMerrellv.Thomas,807F.2d776,778-80(9thCir.1986),which

 

8TheNinthCircuitrecentlystatedinSanLuis&Delta-MendotaWaterAuthorityv.Jewell,No.11-15871,2014WL975130,at*54(9thCir.Mar.13,2014),thatDrakesBaydoesnot“stand forthepropositionthateffortstopreservethenaturalenvironmentareperseexemptfromNEPA.”But,thisispreciselywhatDrakesBaydoessay.DrakesBay,2014WL114699,at*12(“TheSecretary’sdecisionisessentiallyanenvironmentalconservationeffort,whichhasnottriggeredNEPAinthepast.”).

 

 

 

 

 

11

 

heldthatproceduresthatduplicateorpreventcompliancewithNEPAindicatecongressionalintenttoexempttheprocessfromNEPA.9DouglasCounty,48F.3dat1502-04.DouglasCountyalsoheldthatNEPAdoesnotapplytocriticalhabitatdesignation“becausetheESAfurthersthegoalsofNEPAwithoutdemandinganEIS.”Id.at1506.ThisholdinginDouglasCountyreliesonthepropositionthatNEPAdoesnotapplytofederalactionsthatdonothingtoalterthenaturalphysicalenvironment.Id.at1505-06(“[W]henafederalagencytakesanactionthatpreventshumaninterferencewiththeenvironment,itneednotprepareanEIS.”).

TheTenthCircuitcomprehensivelyreviewedDouglasCountyinCatronCountyBd.ofComm’rs,NewMexicov.U.S.Fish&WildlifeServ.,75F.3dat1435-38,andrejecteditentirely,includingthe“conservationeffort”holding.TheTenthCircuitdirectlyrejectedthepropositionthatprojectsintendedtobenefittheenvironmentshouldnotbesubjecttoreviewunderNEPA,becausethisbegsthequestionthatNEPAisspecificallyenactedtoanswer.Id.at1437.AmorerecentdecisionoftheTenthCircuitfollowsCatronCountyinholdingthatNEPAappliestocriticalhabitat

 

 

9DouglasCountyalsoofferstheputativeassurancethatexcusingafederalagencyfromNEPAincriticalhabitatdesignationswouldnotyield“uncheckeddiscretioninmakingcriticalhabitatdesignations,”since“theproceduralrequirementsoftheESA,combinedwithreviewofdecisionspossibleundertheAdministrativeProcedureAct,areadequatesafeguards.”48F.3dat1505.Yetwhilethedecisionbelowreliesonthe“conservationeffort”holdingofDouglasCountytoexemptarefusaltorenewapermitfromNEPA,thesamedecisionalsoholdsthatthereisnojurisdictiontoreviewtherefusalundertheAPA.DrakesBay,2014WL114699,at*1.

 

 

 

 

 

12

 

  1. MiddleRioGrandeConservancyDist.v.Norton,294F.3d1220,1230(10thCir.2002)(FishandWildlifeServicerequiredtoprepareEIStodesignatecriticalhabitatforsilveryminnow.).10

TheUnitedStatesDistrictCourtfortheDistrictofColumbiaalsofollowedCatronCountyinrejectingthegovernment’sassertionthatNEPAdoesnotapplytocriticalhabitatdesignations.CapeHatterasAccessPres.Alliancev.Dep’tofInterior,344F.Supp.2d108,136(D.D.C.2004)(becausecriticalhabitatdesignationsignificantlyaffectsthehumanenvironment,governmentmust“determinetheextentoftheimpactincompliancewithNEPA”).Inanothercase,thesamecourtrejectedtheSecretary’sarguments,basedonDouglasCounty,thatNEPAdoesnotapplytoSpecialRulesunderSection4(d)oftheESA,andheldthatNEPArequiresatleastthepreparationofanEnvironmentalAssessment.InrePolarBearEndangeredSpeciesActListingand§4(d)RuleLitigation,818F.Supp.2d214,236-38(D.D.C.2011)

(citingandapplyingreasoningofCatronCountytoESASection4(d)SpecialRules).

ThecircuitsplitbetweentheNinthandTenthCircuitsonNEPAcreatesregionallegalvariationsforrenewalofgrazingpermits,inwhichpermitsintheNinth Circuit are exposed to greater risk of

 

 

10           InUtahSharedAccessAlliancev.Carpenter,theTenthCircuitruledthatclosureofcertainpubliclandstooff-roadvehicleswasnotsubjecttoNEPA,and commented in a footnotethatifthepartieshadarguedthattheclosurewereamajorfederalaction,therationaleofDouglasCountymightapply.463F.3d1125,1136n.4(10thCir.2006).ThisdiscussionistangentialatbesttotheNEPAholdinginUtahSharedAccess,andthecasedoesnotexamineDouglasCountyinanydepth.

 

 

 

 

 

13

 

  1. AmicusCCAmembersholdmanyofthe572federalgrazingpermitsissuedbytheBureauinCalifornia.BecausetheNinthCircuitexcusesagenciessuchastheBureaufromcomplyingwithNEPAwheretheagencypurportstoacttoimprovetheenvironment,theBureauhasanincentivetoavoidNEPAresponsibilitiesbythesimpleexpedientofrecastingeveryrefusaltorenewapermitasenvironmentallybeneficial.ThelackofaNEPAanalysisin suchcircumstanceshamstringspermitholdersandmembersofthepublicintheirefforttolearnmoreaboutthedecision,provideinput,andtesttheassertionthatthedecisionisbeneficial.SharonBuccino,NEPAUnderAssault:CongressionalandAdministrativeProposalsWouldWeakenEnvironmentalReviewandPublicParticipation,12

N.Y.U.Envtl.L.J.50,53(2003)(“CourtshaveconsistentlyrecognizedNEPA’sdualgoalsof‘informeddecisionmakingandinformedpubliccomment.’”)(citingUtahnsforBetterTransp.v.UnitedStatesDep’tofTransp.,305F.3d1152,1163(10thCir.2002)).Excusingagenciesthatpermitthe useofnaturalresourcesonpubliclandsfromcomplyingwithNEPAiftheyrefusetorenew(whilerequiringcompliancewithNEPAforrenewingthesamepermits)improperlytipsthebalancetowardnonrenewal.

Meanwhile,federalgrazingpermitholdersinthestatescomprisingtheTenthCircuitarefreeofthischicanery,becauseCatronCountyrejectsDouglasCounty’s“conservationeffort”holding.TheCourtshouldgrantthePetitiontoestablishauniformnationalrulefortheapplicationofNEPAtoagencyrefusals torenewpermits,whentheagencycontendstherefusalsare“conservationefforts.”

 

 

  1. TheBureaucannotarbitrarilyorcapriciouslyrefusetorenewa

grazingpermitwithoutanswering  tothefederalcourtsundertheAdministrativeProcedureActin    theTenthCircuit,butitcanrefuserenewalswithimpunityintheNinth.

TheNinthCircuithasdisclaimedjurisdictionundertheAdministrativeProcedure Acttoreviewanarbitraryorcapriciousrefusaltorenewanexistinggrazingpermit.SeeMollohanv.Gray,413F.2dat352(decisionsorrefusalstoissueorrenewagrazingpermitundertheTaylorGrazingActarenotsubjecttoreviewundertheAPA).FollowingthisCourt’ssubsequentdecisioninCitizenstoPreserveOvertonPark,Inc.v.Volpe,401U.S.402,410(1971),that5

U.S.C.§ 701(a)(2)deprives federalcourts ofAPAjurisdictiononly“inthoserareinstanceswhere‘statutesaredrawninsuchbroadtermsthatinagivencase there isnolaw to apply,’” (citationomitted),theNinthCircuitre-examinedandaffirmedtheprinciplesinMollohan,holdingthatfederalcourtslackedjurisdictiontohearachallengetothedenialofahomesteadapplicationundertheClassificationandMultipleUseActof1964.Stricklandv.Morton,519F.2d467,468-70(9thCir.1975).SeealsoNess,512F.2dat716(“wesharetheviewofthepanel[]whichdecidedMollohan”).Inturn,DrakesBayreliesonNessinholdingthattheSecretary’srefusaltorenewPetitioner’spermitisnotreviewableundertheAPA.DrakesBay,2014WL114699,at*6.11

 

11      EvenwithoutitsrelianceonNessandMollohan,DrakesBay

isprecedentthatarefusaltorenewagrazingpermitisnot

(continued…)

 

 

WhentheBureauarbitrarilyorcapriciouslyrefusestorenewagrazingpermitintheTenthCircuit,thefederalcourtshavejurisdictiontoreviewtheactionundertheAdministrativeProcedureAct.DiamondRingRanch,Inc.v.Morton,531F.2dat1406,statessquarelythat“[t]heTaylorGrazingActdoesnotfallwithinthelimitedclassofnon-reviewability,seeSabinv.Butz,515F.2d1061,1064-65(10thCir.1975).”

SabindeclinestofollowMollohan.515F.2dat1065(federalcourtshavejurisdictionundertheAPAtoreviewForestServicerefusaltoissueapermitforskiinstruction).InSabin,theTenthCircuitconstruedCitizenstoPreserveOvertonParknarrowly,butnotedthebroaderinterpretationofthefederaldistrictcourtinNessInv.Corpv.USDA,ForestService,360F.Supp.127(D.Ariz.1973).12

 

11 (…continued)

reviewableundertheAPA.Bothofthefederalstatutes,forrenewalofPetitioner’sspecialusepermitinthePointReyesNationalSeashore,andforrenewalofgrazingpermitsonfederalland,extendverybroaddiscretiontotherelevantagencytograntordenypermits.ComparePub.L.No.111-88,§124,123Stat.2904,2932(2009)(“Section124”inthedecisionbelow)(“[T]heSecretaryoftheInteriorisauthorizedtoissueaspecialusepermitwiththesametermsandconditionsastheexistingauthorization[.]”),with43U.S.C.§315b(“Such[grazing]permitsshallbeforaperiodofnotmorethantenyears,subjecttothepreferencerightofthepermitteestorenewalinthediscretionoftheSecretaryoftheInterior….”).

 

12Bacav.King,92F.3d1031,1037(10thCir.1996),citesMollohanfortheinabilityofthecourtstoorderBureautorenewagrazingpermit.TheplaintiffinBacawaschallengingalandexchangeundertheFederalLandPolicyandManagementAct,id.at1032,thatledtothecancellationofhisgrazingpermit,id.at1033.TheTenthCircuitruledthattheplaintifflackedstandingbecausehisinjurieswerenotredressablebasedonthereliefhe

(continued…)

 

 

 

 

 

16

 

DrakesBayreliesonNess(noAPAreviewofdenialofForestServicepermit),whichreliesinturnonMollohan(noAPAreviewofcancellationofgrazingpermit).TheseNinthCircuitdecisionsconflictwiththeTenthCircuit’sdecisionsinSabin(APAreviewofdenialofForestServicepermit)andDiamondRingRanch(APAreviewofgrazingpermitdecision).So,grantingthePetitionwillnotjustresolvewhethertheSecretary’srefusaltorenewPetitioners’permitissubjecttoAPAreview.GrantingthePetitionwillresolvethecircuitsplitsonAPAreviewofgrazingpermits (Mollohan/DiamondRingRanch) andForestServicediscretionarypermits(Ness/Sabin).

ThecircuitsplitonAPAreviewofgrazingpermitdecisionsresultsinatypeofsecond-classcitizenshipforgrazingpermitholdersintheNinthCircuit.TheyholdapermitwhichtheBureaucanarbitrarilyorcapriciouslyrefusetorenew,foranyreasonornoreason,withoutbeingaccountabletothefederalcourtsundertheAPA.Grazingpermitholdersin theTenthCircuit,however,areabletobringidenticalrefusalsbeforethefederal courtsundertheAPA.Asaresult,grazingpermitholdersintheTenthCircuithaveamoreusefulandvaluableFirstAmendmentrighttopetitiontheirgovernment,becausetheycanpetitionboththeExecutiveandJudicialBranches.ThoseintheNinth,meanwhile,mayonlypetitionthesameExecutiveBranchagencythatrefusestorenewtheirpermits,secureintheknowledgeitisunaccountabletothefederalcourts.

 

 

12 (…continued)

  1. Id.at1037.TheplaintiffhadnotdirectlychallengedthecancellationofhispermitundertheAPA,onlythelandswap.

 

 

 

 

 

17

 

TheCourtshouldgrantthePetitiontoeliminatethisregionallybasedsecond-classcitizenshipforgrazingpermitholdersandestablishauniformruleofjurisdictionundertheAPA.

CONCLUSION

TheCourtshouldgrantthePetition.DATED:May,2014.

Respectfullysubmitted,

 

DAMIENM.SCHIFFANTHONYL.FRANÇOIS

CounselofRecordPacificLegalFoundation930GStreet

Sacramento,California95814

Telephone:(916)419-7111

Facsimile:(916)419-7747

E-mail:dms@pacificlegal.orgE-mail:alf@pacificlegal.org

CounselforAmiciCuriaePacificLegalFoundationandCaliforniaCattlemen’sAssociation

05-19-2014 Monte Wolfe Foundation Amicus Curiae Brief

 (Unfortunately, Adobe PDF file converter has a tendency to run words together

so I am providing access both through the link below as well as by scrolling down to read the ‘converted file.)

 

05-19-2014 Monte Wolfe Foundation DBOC brief

NO.13-1244

 

 

INTHE

SupremeCourtoftheUnitedStates

 

DRAKES BAY OYSTER COMPANY, et al.,

Petitioners,

SALLY JEWELL, SECRETARY OF THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, et

 

On Petition ForWrit Of Certiorari To The United States Court Of Appeals

ForThe Ninth Circuit

 

AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF OF THE MONTE WOLFE FOUNDATION

IN SUPPORT OF PETITIONERS

 

JAMESTALCOTTLINFORD

Counsel of Record

ATTORNEYATLAW

42RHINESTONE TERRACESANRAFAEL,CA94903(415) 831-8761

jimtlinford@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Table of Authorities                                          iii

Identity and Interest of Amicus Curiae              1

Summary of the Argument                                 2

A:Thedecision’simplicationsforfederal stewardshipofhistoricresourcespose an imminent threat to “other litigants

in other situations”                                        4

1)     A hypothetical example of Drakes BayOyster’s threat to historic resources               4

2)      Evenifthejurisprudentialsourceof DrakesBayOysterwerestillgood law, it would only be good in the

Ninth Circuit, where the threat is posed.      6

B:DrakesBayOyster’sNEPAholdingcreatesanintolerablesplitthatencouragesnon-acquiescenceby Federal agencies in their stewardship

of historic resources                                     7

C:TheNinthCircuithasrecentlyminim- izedDouglas County’sapplicabilitytoESAhabitatdesignationswhile upholding “the reasoning” of Douglas

County andDrakes Bay Oyster                         10

D:DrakesBayOyster’sanomalous holdingisoddenoughtosuggest havingbeen,insomesubtleway,a resultofconfutingtheNational Environmental Policy Act with the

Wilderness Act.                                           13

 

CONCLUSION                                                  18

 

 

 

 

APPENDIX

  • NationalHistoricPreservationActof1966 (NHPA) 16 U.S.C. 470, etseq. (excerpts)
  • RegulationsoftheAdvisoryCouncilonHistoric Preservation(ACHP)“ProtectionofHistoric Properties” 36 CFR Part 800 (excerpts)
  • RegulationsoftheCouncilofEnvironmental Quality (CEQ), 40 CFR 1500-1508 (excerpts)

 

 

 

 

 

iii

TABLE OF AUTHORITIES

 

P.APP.=Petitioner’sAppendix;MWF.APP.=Amicus’sAppendix

Cases

Blonder-Tongue Laboratories, Inc. v. University of IllinoisFoundation,

402 U.S. 313, 320 n.6 (1971)                             3

Caltron County v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife

Service,75 F.3d 1429(10thCir. 1996)           6, 11

Douglas County v. Babbitt,

48F.3d1495(9thCir. 1995)            2, 6, 7, 10-13

Drakes Bay Oyster Company v. Jewell, 792F.3d967 (9thCir.2013),

[PACERref:9thCir.Case13-15227;

DktEntry:100;Pages2-51]P.APP.2-51    passim

High Sierra Hikers v. Blackwell,

390F.3d 630 (9thCir. 2004)                           16

San      Luis      &     Delta-Mendota       Water

 

Authorityv.Jewell,

 

F.3d

 

(9th

 

Cir–3/13/2014).[PACERref:9thCir.Case 11-15871; DktEntry: 118-1;

Pages 1-173]                                             11-13

Summers v. Earth Island Inst.,

555 U.S. 488 (2009)                                       15

Wilderness Watch v. USF&W

629F3d 1024 (9thCir 2010)                           16

 

Statutes

 

Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA)

7 U.S.C. §136, 16 U.S.C. §1531 etseq.

[referenced but not cited]                            6, 10

National Environmental Policy Act of 1969(NEPA) 42 U.S.C. §4321 etseq.

[P.APP.171-177;excerpts]                         passim

National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA) 16 U.S.C. §470 etseq

[MWF.APP.2;excerpts]                       1, 3, 4, 7, 8

Point Reyes Wilderness Act of 1976 Pub.L.No. 94-544, 90 Stat.2515

[referenced but not cited]                                  16

Wilderness Act of 1964, 16 U.S.C. 1131-1136

[referenced but not cited]                                 16

 

42 U.S.C. §4331(a) 17
42 U.S.C. §4331(b)(3), (4) & (6) 2, 4
42 U.S.C. §4331(b)(4) 2, 4, 9, 17

 

Regulations

 

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP)36 CFR Part 800

[MWF.APP.3-9;excerpts]                         8, 16

Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) 40 CFR 1500-1508

[MWF.APP.9-15;excerpts]                 7, 8, 9, 12

 

 

 

 

IDENTITY AND INTEREST OFAMICUS CURIÆ 1

 

TheMonteWolfeFoundationisaCalifornianon-profitpublicbenefitcorporationwithamission toprotectlogcabinsinourwesternmountains.2LogcabinsareaniconicAmericanvernacular architecture.However,itisnotunknownfor officialswithinfederalagenciestodecide, unilaterallyandwithoutnotice,toburnor otherwisedemolishsuchhistoricresources. Althoughhistoricresourcesgenerallybenefitfrom areviewprocessundertheNationalHistoric PreservationActof1966(NHPA),someofthem,

 

1: PursuanttoSupremeCourtRule37.6,AmicusMonteWolfeFoundation(“Amicus”)affirmsthat(1)thepresentamicusbriefwasauthoredentirelybycounselforAmicus,andnotauthored inwholeorinpartbycounselfora partynorbyanyoneelse,and(2)nocounselorpartyotherthanAmicusanditscounselmadeanymonetaryorothermaterialcontributiontothepreparationandsubmissionofthepresentamicusbrief.

Amicusfurtheraffirms,pursuanttoRule37.1,thatallcounsel of recordreceived timely notice of the intent tofilethepresentbriefandallgavewrittenconsenttoitsfiling.

2:AcoremissionoftheFoundationistopreservetheMonteWolfeCabin,aspecificlogcabinlocatedwithintheMokelumneWildernessAreaintheCentralSierraNevadaMountains.However,sincetheForestServicehasdeterminedthattheMonteWolfeCabiniseligibleforlistingontheNationalRegisterofHistoricPlaces,itisundertheaegisoftheNationalHistoricPreservationAct.of1966(NHPA),specificallyits§106(16U.S.C.§470f).TheMonteWolfeCabinitselfisthusnotdirectlyatriskfromtheconsequencesoftheNinthCircuitdecisionthatpromptedthepresentpetitionforcertiorari.

 

 

 

havinggonethroughNHPAreviewonlytobefound ineligibleforlistingontheNationalRegisterof HistoricPlaces,donotbenefitfromNHPA protection.However,theseotherwiseunprotected historicresourcesshouldbenefitfromaparallel processundertheNationalEnvironmentalPolicy Actof1969(NEPA)(42U.S.C.§4321etseq.).OneofthegoalsofNEPAisto“preserveimportant historic…aspectsofournationalheritage.” 42

U.S.C.§4331(b)(4)[PETITIONERS’APPENDIX,“P.APP.”below,p.171].TheNinthCircuitdecisionchallengedherewouldfrustratethatgoalbyimperilingunlistedlogcabinswithinAmicus’s scope of concern.

 

SUMMARY OF THE ARGUMENT

 

DrakesBayOysterCompanyv.Jewell,792F.3d 967(9thCir.2013),P.APP.2-51,holdsthatthereisnoNEPAreviewforthedecisiontoclosetheoyster farm and destroy its structures:

[It]isessentiallyanenvironmentalconser- vationeffort…[b]ecauseremovingtheoyster farmisasteptowardrestoringthe“natural, untouchedphysicalenvironment”[andit]… “protectstheenvironmentfromexactlythe kindofhumanimpactsthatNEPAisdesigned to foreclose.”

  1. at984,P.APP.30-31,quotingDouglasCountyv.Babbitt, 48 F.3d 1495, 1505, 1507

(9th Cir.1995).

Theholding,thatnoNEPAreviewisneededwhere agencyactionseekstorestoreapristinestateof nature,appearsuniquetotheNinthCircuit. It

 

 

 

meansthathistoricresourcesonNinthCircuit federalwildlandsareendangeredbecausethey cannotdependonNEPAforprotection.Absentotherprotection,theymaybe–indeed,given DrakesBayOyster’sreadingoftheintentofNEPA,should be – summarily removed.

AlthoughtheNHPAdoesyeoman’sworkin protectingthemostnotableofournation’s federally-ownedhistoricresources,itcannotreach all that are worthy of protection.

DrakesBayOysterwouldhavesucha disastrouseffectonthoseofustryingtopreserve logcabinswithinourwesternwildlandsthat DrakesBayOysterhastransformedusinto“other litigantsinothersituations.”Anditisprecisely our“othersituation”thatwillbegintheargument whythe petitionshould be granted.3

However,theactualcasebeforetheCourtalso containsanirreplaceable,uniquehistoricresource thatwouldbedestroyediftheoysterfarmwereto beremoved,the“hangingcultch”oysterracksofDrakesEstero.Howthispreciousresourceslipped betweenthecracksofanNHPAprocesswillbe addressedbelow,butforpurposesofthis introduction, it is sufficient to affirm that many

 

3    ThehistoricresourceargumentinsupportofthequestionofNEPAreviewwasnotraisedbelowuntilthetimeofthepetitionforrehearing.(CompareBlonder-TongueLabs.v.Univ.Illinois Foundation,402U.S.313,319-320,n.6(1971).)However,thedisastrousimpactofDrakes Bay Oysteronhistoricpreservationinfederalwildlandscouldwellsupportprudentialconsideration.Furthermore,therewouldbenoadvisoryopinionontheargumentsincePetitionerisactuallythreatenedwiththedestructionofitsownhistoricresource,the“hangingcultch”oysterracksofDrakesEstero.

 

 

 

valuablehistoricresourcesfailtomeetNHPA’s rigorousstandards,andthosethatdofailarelefttotheprotectionofNEPA.AmongNEPA’sgoalsisto “preserveimportanthistoric…aspectsofour nationalheritage.”42U.S.C.§4331(b)(4) P.APP.171.TheholdinginDrakesBayOysterwould prevent NEPA from reaching that goal.

 

A:Drakes Bay Oyster’simplications forfederalstewardshipofhistoricresourcespose animminentthreattootherlitigantsinother situations.

 

Thedemonstrationoftheimminentthreatthat DrakesBayOysterpresentstohistoricresourcesin wildlands begins with a hypothetical example:

 

1:      A hypothetical example of Drakes BayOyster’s threat to historic resources

 

Imaginearusticlogcabinthathasbeenused sincetheearlydecadesofthelastcenturyby stockmenwhodrivetheirherdstothehighcountry everyyearforsummergrazing.Thecabinison federalland.Theagencythatadministers thatlandfollowstheadviceofhistoricpreservation officialsbymakinganinventoryofpossiblehistoric resourcesunderitssupervision.Anhistoric resourcesprofessionalevaluatesthecabinto determineitseligibilityforlistingontheNational Register.Theagencyhistorianfindsthatitwould beeligible,exceptthatseveralelementsdefeatthe integrityoftheresourcebecausetheyareadditions madewithinthepastcoupleofdecades. Theyare

 

 

 

thusoutsidethe“periodofhistoricsignificance”of fiftyyearsormore,generallyneededtoqualifyfor listing   on                 the             National   Register.   In                  thishypotheticalcase,imaginethatonenon-conforming elementconsistsofrecently-installedcoppertubing laiddowntobringwaterfromaspringtoasink andsideboard.4   However,thestockmen,whouse thecabineverysummer,liketheirwatersystem anddonotseethepointofremovingit. Asaresult, an historic resource with “impeccable bones” is found ineligible for listing on the National Register. Since Drakes Bay Oyster, this ineligible but valuableresourcewouldreceivedifferenttreatment dependingwhetheritbein,forexample,theUinta MountainsofUtahandWyoming,ortheWarner

Mountains of Oregon and California.

TheTenthCircuitrejectsthejurisprudential linethatincludesDrakesBayOyster.Iftheagency administeringthelandwantedtoremovethecabin, itwouldneedaNEPAreviewthatwouldbringthe stockmeninonthedecision.NEPAreviewwould alsobring in the historic preservation community.

IntheNinthCircuit,DrakesBayOysterwould allowtheagencytoremovethecabinwithoutany warning.Onesummer,thestockmenwouldarrive attheirsummercamptofindthecabingone.Andthe historic preservation community would be confrontedwiththedestructionofyetanother irreplaceable historic resource.

 

 

 

4    Thishypotheticalisrealistic:Justsuchacoppertubingwater systemhadtoberemovedfromtheMonteWolfeCabinsitebeforetheForestServicehistoriancouldfindtheCabineligibleforlistingontheNationalRegister.

 

 

 

Alloftheineligiblehistoricresourceswithin NinthCircuitwildlandsareunderimminent threat.

 

2:EvenifthejurisprudentialsourceofDrakesBayOysterwerestillgoodlaw,itwouldonlybegoodintheNinthCircuit,where the threat is posed.

 

DrakesBayOysterreliesuponandenlargesthe holdingofthe1995NinthCircuitopinion,Douglas County, supra.Douglas County’sinnovationwasto holdthatNEPAreviewisnottriggeredbythe designationofendangeredspecieshabitatunder theEndangeredSpeciesActof1973(ESA).The rationalewasthatmeredesignationdoesnot physicallychangetheenvironment,andthe designatingagencycannotbeaskedtoundertake NEPAreview“inordertoleavenaturealone.” Douglas County, supra, 48 F.3d at 1505.

However,fromthebeginning,DouglasCounty hasbeencriticizedandexpresslyrejectedbyother Circuits.ThefirstandbestexamplewasCaltronCountyv.U.S.Fish&WildlifeService,75 F.3d 1429 (10thCir.1996), holdingthat they

disagreewiththe[NinthCircuit]panelthatno actualimpactflowsfromthecriticalhabitat designation….Therecordinthiscase suggeststhattheimpactwillbeimmediateand theconsequencescouldbedisastrous[by precluding proper flood control].

Ibid. at 1436.

We will see below how the Ninth Circuit has recentlybackedoffitspositionofnoNEPAreview

 

 

 

forcriticalhabitatdesignation,althoughwithout backingupfarenoughtooverturnDouglasCounty. However,thepertinentpointhereisthatDouglas CountyhasneverbeengoodlawintheTenthandotherCircuits,althoughitremainsvalidprecedentintheNinth.SinceDrakesBayOysterrelieson DouglasCounty,DrakesBayOystercannotbe considered good law outside the Ninth Circuit.

WithDrakesBayOysterthereisanintolerablesplit between the Circuits.

 

B:DrakesBayOyster’sNEPAholdingcreatesanintolerablesplitthatencouragesnon- acquiescencebyfederalagenciesintheir stewardship of historic resources.

 

DrakesBayOyster’sNEPAholdingputs administrativeagenciesinabind,especiallyforhistoricresourcesfoundineligibleforlistingonthe NationalRegister.Iftheresourceisfoundeligible forlisting,thenitisprimarilyundertheaegisof theNHPA,andNEPAbecomesofsubsidiaryimportance.Ifitisineligible,theNHPAbowsout of the NEPA process.

Assumethatatypicalfederalagencywith responsibilityformanagingfederalwildlands–the ForestService,theNationalParkService,andthe BureauofLandManagementcometomind– wantstopromulgateagencyprocedureswith respecttoman-madehistoricresources,suchaslogcabins,in wildlands it administers.

Generally,theNEPAprocessinvolvesfirst,an Environmental Assessment (EA) [see   40CFR1508.9, Amicus Monte Wolfe Foundation

 

 

 

Appendix,“MWF.APP.”below,p.12]leadingtothedecisioneithertoproduceafullEnvironmental ImpactStatement(EIS)[see§1508.11,MWF.APP.12]ortoissueaFindingofNoSignificantImpact(FONSI)[see§1508.13,MWF.APP.13].HoweversomeclassesofactionsneverevengetanEAbecausetheyarethesubject ofaCategoricalExclusion(CE)[see§1508.4,MWF.APP.11]

IntheNinthCircuit,theDrakesBayOyster holdingwouldimplyaCEforanyremovalof historicresourcesfromwildlands,thusnoEAor EIS.BeyondthereachofDrakesBayOyster,therewouldbenoCE,rathertherewouldbeanEAandeventuallyanEIS.However,thisdifference betweenthecircuitswouldhavenopractical consequenceforhistoricresourcesthathavenotyet beenevaluatedunderNHPA:AspartoftheNEPA reviewprocess,theNHPArequirestheagencyto identify   possible   historic   resources   (36CFR800.3(a),MWF.APP.3),arequirementthattrumpsanyCategoricalExclusionthatwouldotherwiseprecludeNEPAreview.36CFR800.8(b), MWF.APP.5.Thus,intheNinthCircuitaswellasintheothers,theunevaluatedresourcewouldbe undertheprotectionofNHPA,atleastuntil determinationofeligibilityforlistingonthe National Register.

DrakesBayOyster’sthreattoanhistoric resourcewouldbecomeactualonlyiftheresourceis foundineligibleforlistingontheNationalRegister, thus solely protected by NEPA.

NEPAdoesprovideforprotectionofhistoric resources independently of NHPA.     In the

 

 

 

definitionof“Significantly,”theCouncilon EnvironmentalQuality(CEQ)regulationsrequire consideration of adverse effects on resources

listedinoreligibleforlistingintheNational RegisterofHistoricPlacesor…lossor destruction of significant … historical resources. 40CFR1508.27(b)(8),MWF.APP.15.(Emphasis

Supplied.)

AndhistoricpreservationitselfisanexplicitstatutorygoalofNEPA.Itcallsforgovernmental action that will

attainthewidestrangeofbeneficialusesof theenvironmentwithoutdegradation…; preserveimportanthistoric,culturalandnaturalaspectsofournationalheritage,… [and]enhancethequalityofrenewable resources.

42U.S.C.§4331(b)(3),(4)&(6),P.APP.172-

  1. (Emphasis supplied.)

Under 40 CFR 1507.3(b)(2), MWF.APP.10-11,

thetypicalagencypromulgatesprocedures regardinggivenclassesofaction,forexample,here, anydecisiontoremoveineligiblehistoricresources from wildlands.

ForwildlandsoutsidetheNinthCircuit,the agencywilllooktothepotentialeffectsofthe action,where,forexample,theeffectsare “ecological…,aesthetic,historic,[or]cultural….”

40CFR 1508.8, MWF.APP.12.Theagency willthenbelikelytodeterminethat,giventhe complexityofeffects,aCategoricalExclusionwould beinappropriate,thatthereshouldbean EnvironmentalAssessmentthatwouldlikelyleadto a full Environmental Impact Statement.

 

 

 

However,forineligiblehistoricresourcesin wildlandswithintheNinthCircuit,theagencywill beboundbytheDrakesBayOysterholding:Iftheeffectis“restoringuntouchedphysical environment,”theagencyshoulddispensewiththe NEPAprocess.DrakesBayOyster,supra,729F.3d at984,P.APP.30-31.DrakesBayOysterimpliesthatthereshouldbeaCategoricalExclusion, precludinganyEAorEIS.NoNEPAoranyother processwouldbeneededtoremoveanineligible historicresourcefromwildlands.Thehistoric resource would face an imminent threat.

Thus,thetypicalfederalagencywouldfindit impossibletopromulgatethesameproceduresfor ineligiblehistoricresourcesonwildlandswithinthe NinthCircuitasforthosewithinotherCircuits. There is an intolerable split.

 

C:TheNinthCircuithasrecentlyminimized DouglasCounty’sapplicabilitytoESAhabitatdesignations,allthewhile upholding“thereasoning”ofDouglas County and Drakes Bay Oyster.

 

ItappearsthatonlyintheNinthCircuitandonlyinDrakesBayOysteristhereanactual holdingthatthe“restoration”ofa“naturalsetting,”involvingachangeinthephysicalenvironment, neednottriggerNEPAreview.DrakesBayOyster isaninnovativeexpansionofDouglasCounty,whichhadheldthatdesignationofcriticalhabitat undertheEndangeredSpeciesActdoesnottrigger NEPAreviewbecausedesignationdoesnoteffect anychangeinthephysicalenvironment. Douglas

 

 

 

County,supra,48F.3dat1505.Asseenabove, thatholdingcreatedasplit,notablywiththeTenth Circuit in Caltron County, supra, 75 F.3dat 1436.

Now,theNinthCircuitappearstohavebacked awayfromthesplit,awayfromtheDouglas CountypositionregardingtheinapplicabilityofNEPAto ESA habitat designations.

With    San      Luis      &     Delta-Mendota       Water

 

Authority v. Jewell ,

 

F.3d

 

(9th   Cir –

 

3/13/2014).[PACERref:NinthCircuitCase11- 15871;DktEntry:118-1;Pages1-173]5,aNinthCircuitpanelhasessentiallydistinguishedDouglas CountyintoirrelevancewheretheESAis concerned.ItappearstohavetacitlyacceptedmanyofthecriticismsofDouglasofferedinCaltron Countyandelsewhere,thusattenuatingthesplit betweenCircuits,atleastregardingNEPAreview ofESAhabitatdesignation.Ibid.at[PACERat146-150].

Demonstratingthemajority’smovementawayfromthesplit,thedissentinSanLuis&Delta- MendotawouldapplyDouglas County’snowlargelysupersededESArule.Ibid.at[PACERat167-168].

However,themajorityinSanLuis&Delta- MendotadoesnotcleanlyoverruleDouglasCounty: Itisnotsittingenbanc.Instead,themajorityaffirmsthevalidityofDouglasCounty’s“reasoning,”allthewhilevitiatingitsprincipalpracticalresult.Itisaskillfulholdingthatminimizesthelikelihoodofsuccessfulenbancor

 

5:PetitionsforrehearingenbanchavebeenfiledandthecourthasinvitedoppositiontobefiledbyJune16,2014.NEPAdoesnotappeartobeatissueinthepetitions.

 

 

 

certiorarichallenge,atleastongroundsrelatingto the ESA.

Butinanapparentneedtodemonstratethatit wasnotoverrulingDouglasCounty,thepaneldid offerasacrificiallamb,trussedforslaughter, throughareaffirmationofDrakesBayOyster.The SanLuis&Delta-Mendotamajoritydistinguishes themodestfamilyoysterfarmfromthemassive California Delta water project:

Whatevereffectsimplementingthe[studies oftheimpactoftheprojectonthe endangereddeltasmelt]mighthaveonthe humanenvironment,itisapparentthatthey aremorecomplexandwide-rangingthantheremovalofafewbuildingsinDrakesBay Oyster.

Ibid. at         [PACERat 149]

Dismissingtheimpactonthe“human environment”inDrakes Bay Oysteras“theremoval ofafewbuildings”maybemerelycavalier,orit maybecallousandcruel:Thefarmingfamilyloses itsbusiness,thefarmworkerslosetheirlivelihood, theregionlosesasustainablefoodsourcethatalso happenstobeajewelinthegastronomiccrownof thegreaterSanFranciscoBayArea,andour nationalheritagelosesapreciousresource,the historic“hangingcultch”oysterracksinDrakes Estero. See40CFR1508.14, MWF.APP.13.

AproperNEPAprocess,nottruncatedasitwas here,wouldhavehelpedtheunderlyingDrakes BayOystercourtformulateanopinionthataccurately reflectedtheenvironmentalconsequencesofthe proposedaction.Itcertainlywouldhavehelpedthe court flesh out real-world costs of what it

 

 

 

erroneouslypresentedinitsopinionastrivial.Asitwas,theonlyadverseeffectthattheunderlyingDrakesBayOysterpanelrecognizedwas“short- termharmssuchasnoiseassociatedwithheavy machineryneededtoremoveDrakesBay’s structures.”DrakesBayOyster,supra,729F.3dat 984,P.APP.31.TheDrakesBayOystermajoritydrasticallyunderstatedtheharminflictedbythe decision

 

D:DrakesBayOyster’sanomalousholdingisoddenoughtosuggesthavingbeen,in somesubtleway,aresultofconfutingtheNationalEnvironmentalPolicyActwith the Wilderness Act.

 

AfterSanLuis&Delta-Mendota,allthatisreallyleftoftheDouglasCounty/DrakesBay Oysterlineofcasesistheisolatedholdingthata decisionto“restore”pristinewildnessdoesnot triggerNEPAreview.ThedecisioninDrakesBay Oysterhasbecomeananomaly,adangerousanomaly.Itsoddityraisesthequestion,whereon earthcouldithavecomefrom?WhydidtheDrakes BayOystermajorityputforwardsuchaneccentric holding?

Theanswermaylieinthelargercontextofthe DrakesBayOystercase,ofthePointReyes NationalSeashore,andevenoftheenvironmental movement.

Thenubwouldbedivergentviewsabouthow theSeashoreshouldbemanaged,andespecially abouttheroleofsustainableagricultureinit. Environmental purists believe that the entire

 

 

 

Seashoreshouldbereturnedasfaraspossibleto theconditioninwhichSirFrancisDrakefounditin 1579.Othersrememberthattherewouldbeno NationalSeashoreiftheagriculturalistshad decidedinthe1960’stoselltheirlandto commercialrealestatedevelopersratherthanto the National Park Service.

Giventhattheunderlyingcaseisembeddedin thismatrix,itisimportanttounderstandhowthe oyster farm fits into the Seashore.

TheoysterfarmisentirelywithinthePoint ReyesNationalSeashore.TheSeashorehastwo principalzones,thepastoralzoneandthe wildernesszone.Thepastoralzoneisgenerallyin thewesternpartofthePointReyesPeninsulaand includesmanydairyfarms.Mostoftherestofthe Seashore,includingalltheestuarialwaters,is designated wilderness.

Theoysterfarmhastwodistinctparts,the onshorefacilities,entirelywithinthepastoralzone, andtheoysterbeds,entirelywithindesignated wilderness.Theoysterfarm’sonshorefacilitiesare analogoustothebarns,outbuildingsand habitationsinthedairyfarms.Theoysterbedsare the equivalent to the dairy farm pastures

Theoysterbedsarebasicallyoftwotypes: Firstareoysterbedsthatsimplyrestonthe bottom,oftencoveredwithalayerofoystershells, andsecondaretheoysterbedsthatuseoyster rackstosuspendtheoystersabovethebottom. Thesearethehistoricallyinvaluable“hanging cultch” oyster racks.

TheNationalParkServicecontractedastudy of the oyster farm as an historic resource, the

 

 

 

NationalParkServiceNationalRegisterofHistoric PlacesRegistrationForm,March21,2011,by CaywoodandHagen,CRCS,Missoula,Montana; (“National Registerstudy”).6 TheNationalRegisterstudypresentstheoysterracksasthecentral element of the overall site’s historical significance:

[T]hesiteissignificantforitsassociation withtheintroductionofJapaneseoff-bottom growingmethods,specificallythehanging cultchmethod.Intheearly1960s,Johnson OysterCompanysuccessfullyadaptedthis methodtoconditionsintheestero,andindoingso,becameoneofthelargest commercial oyster producers in the state….

Whenconsideringonlyhistoricalsignif- icance,JohnsonOysterCompanyfacility wouldbeeligibleforlistingunderNational RegisterCriterionA….Theareaof significancewouldbeMaritimeHistory….. [T]heracksintheesteroareintheiroriginal locations,andtheproperty’ssetting—the pastorallandscapesurroundingthebay— hasbeenlittlealteredsincetheearly1930s. (Ibid., p.12)

TheNationalRegisterstudyconcludedthat thesiteasawholewasnoteligibleforlisting,but thereasonsforthenegativedeterminationdidnot involvetheoysterracks. (Ibid.,pp.12-13.) The

 

6:<http://www.nps.gov/pore/parkmgmt/upload/planning_dboc_sup_background_nrhp_doe_with-shpo_letter_110804.pdf>

AmicusmodelsitsreferencetoaNationalParkServiceURLonthisCourt’sreferencetoaForestServiceURLinSummersv.EarthIslandInst., 555 U.S. 488,495(2009). Counselfor Amicushasafilecopyofthedocumentin“pdf”format,downloadedonMay10,2014.

 

 

 

reasonshadtodowithchangesthathadbeenmade totheOnshoreFacilitiesoverrecentdecades, includingthosemadeinresponsetoupdatedpublic healthregulations.(Ibid.)Itmaybethatsomeof thereasonsderivefromasensethatthe architecture,constructionandupkeepofthis working oyster farm are a bit too vernacular.

However,thepertinentpointisthattheoyster rackswouldbeeligibleiftakenalone:An“historic property”includes“anyhistoric…structure… eligibleforinclusionintheNationalRegister.”36 CFR800.16(l)(1),MWF.APP.6.Theoysterracksareeligibleandshouldhavebeenprotectedunderthe NHPA.Iftheyhadbeen,theprocessforremoving theoysterfarmwouldhavehadtogothroughthe ACHP,whichwouldnothaveletgoofsucha precioushistoricresourceaseasilyastheSecretary of the Interior did.

Ultimately,thedecisionbytheSecretaryofthe Interiortoclosetheoysterfarmwasshapedbyhis misunderstandingoftheWildernessActof1964,mistakenlybelievingittobeonlyconsistentwith pristine wildness.7

TheDrakesBayOystermajority’ssupportfor theSecretary’spositiononpristinewildnessmay

 

7  :FocusingnarrowlyonthePointReyesWildernessActof1976,neitherdissentnormajorityevokedlong-standingNinthCircuitjurisprudencethatconstruestheover-archingWildernessActof1964assupportingapragmaticratherthanpuristunderstandingof“wilderness,”onethatimpliesanuancedlegalframework wherethe idealofpristine wildnesscancoexistwithawiderrangeofuseandpurpose.See,forexample,WildernessWatchv.U.S.FishandWildlifeService,629F.3d1024,1033(9thCir.2010)andHighSierraHikersv.

Blackwell,390F.3d630,646-648(9thCir.2004)

 

 

 

well have shaped its holding that NEPA review was notneeded“[b]ecauseremovingtheoysterfarmisa steptowardrestoringthenatural,untouched physicalenvironment.”Ibid.at984,P.APP.31(quotation marks omitted).

ButNEPAdoesnotcallfortherestorationof someidealofpristinewildness.Rather,NEPA recognizes

thecriticalimportanceofrestoringand maintainingenvironmentalqualitytothe overall welfare and development of man,

(42U.S.C.§4331(a)[P.APP.171])

and to that end seeks

tocreateandmaintainconditionsunder whichmanandnaturecanexistin productiveharmony,andfulfillthesocial, economicandotherrequirementsofpresent and future generations of Americans. (Ibid.)

Morespecifically,NEPAcallsforgovernmental action that will

attainthewidestrangeofbeneficialusesof theenvironmentwithoutdegradation…; preserveimportanthistoric,culturalandnaturalaspectsofournationalheritage,… [and]enhancethequalityofrenewable resources.

42U.S.C.§4331(b)(3),(4)&(6)[P.APP.172-

173](Emphasis supplied.)

 

Historicpreservationisanexplicitstatutorygoalof NEPA.“Restoration”ofpristinewildness,assuch,is not.

 

 

 

DrakesBayOyster’smisapplicationofNEPA isnotmerelyerroneous;itisanerrorthatcreates anintolerablesplitbetweenCircuitsandposesanimminentthreattohistoricresourcesinfederally administered wildlands.

 

CONCLUSION

 

ThePetitionforWritofCertiorarishouldbe granted.

 

 

DATED: May 15, 2014

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

JAMES TALCOTT LINFORD

Attorney for Amicus Curiae The Monte Wolfe Foundation

 

 

 

AMICUS MONTE WOLFE FOUNDATION APPENDIX

[“MWF.APP.”]

 

INDEX

 

 

Excerpts from National Historic Preservation Act of 1966(NHPA)

 

Sec. 106: Advisory Council on

 

 

page

 

Historic Preservation (ACHP)             2

Sec.211:Regulations for Sec. 106                        2

Excerpts from “Protection of Historic Properties” regulations implementing Sec. 106,

36 CFR Part 800

page

§ 800.3Initiation of the section 106 process        3

§ 800.16: Definitions                                           6

APPENDIXATOPART800                                     7

ExcerptsfromCouncilonEnvironmentalQuality (CEQ) regulations:40 CFR 1500-1508

page

§ 1507.3Agency procedures                                 9

§ 1508.4“Categorical Exclusion”(CE)                11

§ 1508.8“Effects”                                               11

§ 1508.9“Environmental assessment” (EA)        12

§ 1508.11“Env’l impact statement” (EIS)          12

§ 1508.13“Finding of no significant impact”      13

 

§ 1508.14“Human environment”                         13

§ 1508.27“Significantly”                                      13

 

 

Excerpts from

National Historic Preservation Act of 1966

 

Section106[16U.S.C.470f—AdvisoryCouncil onHistoricPreservation,commentonFederal undertakings]

TheheadofanyFederalagencyhavingdirector indirectjurisdictionoveraproposedFederalor federallyassistedundertakinginanyStateand theheadofanyFederaldepartmentor independentagencyhavingauthoritytolicense anyundertakingshall,priortotheapprovalof theexpenditureofanyFederalfundsonthe undertakingorpriortotheissuanceofany license,asthecasemaybe,takeintoaccountthe effectoftheundertakingonanydistrict,site, building,structure,orobjectthatisincludedin oreligibleforinclusionintheNationalRegister. TheheadofanysuchFederalagencyshallafford theAdvisoryCouncilonHistoricPreservation establishedunderTitleIIofthisActa reasonableopportunitytocommentwithregard to such undertaking.

 

Section211[16U.S.C.470s—Regulationsfor Section 106 . . ..]

TheCouncilisauthorizedtopromulgatesuch rulesandregulationsasitdeemsnecessaryto governtheimplementationofsection106ofthis Act in its entirety . . ..

 

 

 

Excerpts from “Protection of Historic Properties”

regulations implementing Section 106 36 CFR Part 800

 

§ 800.3 Initiation of the section 106 process.

(a)   Establishundertaking. Theagencyofficialshall determinewhethertheproposedFederalactionis anundertakingasdefinedin§800.16(y)and,ifso, whetheritisatypeofactivitythathasthe potential to cause effects on historic properties.

(1)  Nopotentialtocauseeffects. Iftheundertaking isatypeofactivitythatdoesnothavethepotential tocauseeffectsonhistoricproperties,assuming suchhistoricpropertieswerepresent,theagency officialhasnofurtherobligationsundersection106 or this part.

*        *        *        *        *        *

 

800.4 Identification of historic properties

*        *        *        *        *        *

(c)  Evaluate historic significance—

(1)  ApplyNationalRegistercriteria. Inconsultation withtheSHPO/THPOandanyIndiantribeor NativeHawaiianorganizationthatattaches religiousandculturalsignificancetoidentified propertiesandguidedbytheSecretary’sstandards andguidelinesforevaluation,theagencyofficial shallapplytheNationalRegistercriteria(36CFR part63)topropertiesidentifiedwithintheareaof potentialeffectsthathavenotbeenpreviously evaluated for National Register eligibility. The

 

 

 

passageoftime,changingperceptionsof significance,orincompletepriorevaluationsmay requiretheagencyofficialtoreevaluateproperties previouslydeterminedeligibleorineligible.The agencyofficialshallacknowledgethatIndiantribes andNativeHawaiianorganizationspossessspecialexpertiseinassessingtheeligibilityofhistoric propertiesthatmaypossessreligiousandcultural significance to them.

(2)  Determinewhetherapropertyiseligible. Ifthe agencyofficialdeterminesanyoftheNational RegistercriteriaaremetandtheSHPO/THPO agrees,thepropertyshallbeconsideredeligiblefor theNationalRegisterforsection106purposes.If theagencyofficialdeterminesthecriteriaarenot metandtheSHPO/THPOagrees,theproperty shallbeconsiderednoteligible.IftheagencyofficialandtheSHPO/THPOdonotagree,orifthe CouncilortheSecretarysorequest,theagency officialshallobtainadeterminationofeligibility fromtheSecretarypursuantto36CFRpart63.If anIndiantribeorNativeHawaiianorganizationthatattachesreligiousandculturalsignificanceto apropertyofftriballandsdoesnotagree,itmay asktheCounciltorequesttheagencyofficialto obtain a determination of eligibility.

(d)    Results of identificationand evaluation—

(1)   Nohistoricpropertiesaffected. Iftheagencyofficialfindsthateithertherearenohistoric propertiespresentortherearehistoricproperties presentbuttheundertakingwillhavenoeffect upon them as defined in §800.16(i), the agency

 

 

 

officialshallprovidedocumentationofthisfinding, assetforthin§800.11(d),totheSHPO/THPO.Theagencyofficialshallnotifyallconsultingparties, includingIndiantribesandNativeHawaiian organizations,andmakethedocumentation availableforpublicinspectionpriortoapproving the undertaking.

*        *        *        *        *        *

§ 800.8 Coordination With NEPA.

*        *        *        *        *        *

3)  Inclusionofhistoricpreservationissues. Agency officialsshouldensurethatpreparationofan environmentalassessment(EA)andfindingofno significantimpact(FONSI)oranEISandrecordof decision(ROD)includesappropriatescoping, identificationofhistoricproperties,assessmentof effectsuponthem,andconsultationleadingto resolution of any adverse effects.

(b)Actionscategoricallyexcludedunder NEPA. Ifaproject,activityorprogramiscategoricallyexcludedfromNEPAreviewunderan agency’sNEPAprocedures,theagencyofficialshall determineifitstillqualifiesasanundertaking requiringreviewundersection106pursuantto§ 800.3(a).Ifso,theagencyofficialshallproceedwith section106reviewinaccordancewiththe procedures in this subpart.

*        *        *        *        *        *

 

 

 

§ 800.16 Definitions.

*        *        *        *        *        *

(g) CouncilmeanstheAdvisoryCouncilon HistoricPreservationoraCouncilmemberor employee designated to act for the Council.

*        *        *        *        *        *

(i) Effectmeansalterationtothecharacteristicsof ahistoricpropertyqualifyingitforinclusioninor eligibility for the National Register.

(j)   Foreclosuremeansanactiontakenbyanagency officialthateffectivelyprecludestheCouncilfrom providingcommentswhichtheagencyofficialcan meaningfullyconsiderpriortotheapprovalofthe undertaking.

*        *        *        *        *        *

(l)(1)Historicpropertymeansanyprehistoricor historicdistrict,site,building,structure,orobject includedin,oreligibleforinclusionin,theNational RegisterofHistoricPlacesmaintainedbythe SecretaryoftheInterior.Thistermincludes artifacts,records,andremainsthatarerelatedto andlocatedwithinsuchproperties.Theterm includespropertiesoftraditionalreligiousand culturalimportancetoanIndiantribeorNative HawaiianorganizationandthatmeettheNational Register criteria.

(2)   ThetermeligibleforinclusionintheNational Registerincludesbothpropertiesformally determinedassuchinaccordancewithregulations oftheSecretaryoftheInteriorandallother properties that meet the National Register criteria.

*        *        *        *        *        *

 

 

 

(q)   NationalRegistermeanstheNationalRegister ofHistoricPlacesmaintainedbytheSecretaryof the Interior.

(r)   NationalRegistercriteriameansthecriteria establishedbytheSecretaryoftheInteriorforuse inevaluatingtheeligibilityofpropertiesforthe National Register (36 CFR part 60).

*        *        *        *        *        *

(y) Undertakingmeansaproject,activity,or programfundedinwholeorinpartunderthe directorindirectjurisdictionofaFederalagency, including those carried out by or on behalf of a Federalagency;thosecarriedoutwithFederal financialassistance;andthoserequiringaFederal permit, license or approval.

 

APPENDIXATOPART800—CRITERIAFORCOUNCILINVOLVEMENTINREVIEWINGINDIVIDUALSECTION106CASES

(a)  Introduction.Thisappendixsetsforththe criteriathatwillbeusedbytheCouncilto determinewhethertoenteranindividualsection 106reviewthatitnormallywouldnotbeinvolved in.

(b)  Generalpolicy.TheCouncilmaychooseto exerciseitsauthoritiesunderthesection106 regulationstoparticipateinanindividualproject pursuanttothefollowingcriteria.However,the Councilwillnotalwayselecttoparticipateeven though one or more of the criteria may be met.

 

 

 

(c)  Specificcriteria.TheCouncilislikelytoenter thesection106processatthestepsspecifiedinthe regulations in this part when an undertaking:

(1)  Hassubstantialimpactsonimportanthistoric properties.Thismayincludeadverseeffectson propertiesthatpossessanationallevelof significanceoronpropertiesthatareofunusualor noteworthyimportanceorareararepropertytype; oradverseeffectstolargenumbersofhistoric properties,suchasimpactstomultipleproperties within a historic district.

(2)  Presentsimportantquestionsofpolicyor interpretation.Thismayincludequestionsabout howtheCouncil’sregulationsarebeingappliedor interpreted,includingpossibleforeclosureor anticipatory demolition situations; situations where theoutcomewillsetaprecedentaffectingCouncil policiesorprogramgoals;orthedevelopmentof programmaticagreementsthatalterthewaythe section106processisappliedtoagrouportypeof undertakings.

(3)  Hasthepotentialforpresentingprocedural problems.Thismayincludecaseswithsubstantial publiccontroversythatisrelatedtohistoric preservationissues;withdisputesamongorabout consultingpartieswhichtheCouncil’sinvolvement couldhelpresolve;thatareinvolvedorlikelytobe involvedinlitigationonthebasisofsection106;or carriedoutbyaFederalagency,inaStateor locality,orontriballandswheretheCouncilhas previouslyidentifiedproblemswithsection106 compliance pursuant to §800.9(d)(2).

 

 

 

(4)  PresentsissuesofconcerntoIndiantribesor NativeHawaiianorganizations.Thismayinclude caseswheretherehavebeenconcernsraisedabout theidentificationof,evaluationoforassessmentof effectsonhistoricpropertiestowhichanIndian tribeorNativeHawaiianorganizationattaches religiousandculturalsignificance;whereanIndian tribeorNativeHawaiianorganizationhas requestedCouncilinvolvementtoassistinthe resolutionofadverseeffects;orwherethereare questionsrelatingtopolicy,interpretationor precedentundersection106oritsrelationtoother authorities,suchastheNativeAmericanGraves Protection and Repatriation Act.

 

Excerpts from

Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations: 40 CFR 1500-1508

 

§ 1507.3 Agency procedures.

(a)  Notlaterthaneightmonthsafterpublication oftheseregulationsasfinallyadoptedinthe FederalRegister,orfivemonthsafterthe establishmentofanagency,whichevershall comelater,eachagencyshallasnecessaryadopt procedurestosupplementtheseregulations. Whentheagencyisadepartment,major subunitsareencouraged(withtheconsentofthe department)toadopttheirownprocedures.Such proceduresshallnotparaphrasethese regulations.Theyshallconfinethemselvesto implementingprocedures.Eachagencyshall consult with the Council while developing its

 

 

 

proceduresandbeforepublishingtheminthe FederalRegisterforcomment.Agencieswith similarprogramsshouldconsultwitheachother andtheCounciltocoordinatetheirprocedures, especiallyforprogramsrequestingsimilar informationfromapplicants.Theprocedures shallbeadoptedonlyafteranopportunityfor publicreviewandafterreviewbytheCouncilfor conformitywiththeActandtheseregulations. TheCouncilshallcompleteitsreviewwithin30 days.Onceineffecttheyshallbefiledwiththe Councilandmadereadilyavailabletothepublic. Agenciesareencouragedtopublishexplanatory guidancefortheseregulationsandtheirown procedures.Agenciesshallcontinuetoreview theirpoliciesandproceduresandinconsultation withtheCounciltorevisethemasnecessaryto ensurefullcompliancewiththepurposesand provisions of the Act.

(b)    Agencyproceduresshallcomplywiththese regulationsexceptwherecompliancewouldbe inconsistentwithstatutoryrequirementsand shall include:

  1. ThoseproceduresrequiredbySecs. 1501.2(d),1502.9(c)(3),1505.1,1506.6(e), and 1508.4.
  2. Specificcriteriaforandidentificationof those typical classes of action:

(i)     Whichnormallydorequireenviron- mental impact statements.

(ii)  Whichnormallydonotrequireeitheran environmentalimpactstatementoran environmentalassessment(categorical exclusions (Sec. 1508.4)).

 

 

 

(iii)   Whichnormallyrequireenvironmental assessmentsbutnotnecessarily environmental impact statements.

*        *        *        *        *        *

§ 1508.4 Categorical exclusion.

Categoricalexclusionmeansacategoryofactions whichdonotindividuallyorcumulativelyhavea significanteffectonthehumanenvironmentand whichhavebeenfoundtohavenosucheffectin proceduresadoptedbyaFederalagencyin implementationoftheseregulations(§1507.3)andforwhich,therefore,neitheran environmentalassessmentnoranenvironmental impactstatementisrequired.Anagencymay decideinitsproceduresorotherwise,toprepare environmentalassessmentsforthereasons statedin§1508.9eventhoughitisnotrequired todoso.Anyproceduresunderthissectionshall provideforextraordinarycircumstancesinwhich anormallyexcludedactionmayhavea significant environmental effect.

 

§ 1508.8 Effects. Effectsinclude:

(a)  Directeffects,whicharecausedbytheaction and occur at the same time and place.

(b)  Indirecteffects,whicharecausedbythe actionandarelaterintimeorfartherremoved indistance,butarestillreasonablyforeseeable. Indirecteffectsmayincludegrowthinducing effectsandothereffectsrelatedtoinduced changesinthepatternoflanduse,population densityorgrowthrate,andrelatedeffectsonair andwaterandothernaturalsystems,including ecosystems.

 

 

 

Effectsandimpactsasusedintheseregulations aresynonymous.Effectsincludesecological(such astheeffectsonnaturalresourcesandonthe components,structures,andfunctioningofaffected ecosystems),aesthetic,historic,cultural,economic, social,orhealth,whetherdirect,indirect,or cumulative.Effectsmayalsoinclude those resultingfromactionswhichmayhaveboth beneficialanddetrimentaleffects,evenifon balancetheagencybelievesthattheeffectwillbe beneficial.

 

§ 1508.9 Environmental assessment.

Environmental assessment:

(a)   Meansaconcisepublicdocumentforwhicha Federal agency is responsible that serves to:

(1)   Brieflyprovidesufficientevidenceandanalysis fordeterminingwhethertopreparean environmentalimpactstatementorafindingofno significant impact.

(2)   Aidanagency’scompliancewiththeActwhen no environmental impact statement is necessary.

(3)   Facilitatepreparationofastatementwhenone is necessary.

(b)   Shallincludebriefdiscussionsoftheneedfor theproposal,ofalternativesasrequiredbysection 102(2)(E),oftheenvironmentalimpactsofthe proposedactionandalternatives,andalistingof agencies and persons consulted.

 

§ 1508.11 Environmental impact statement. Environmentalimpactstatementmeansadetailed written statement as required by §102(2)(C) of Act.

 

 

 

 

§ 1508.13 Finding of no significant impact.

Findingofnosignificantimpactmeansadocument byaFederalagencybrieflypresentingthe reasonswhyanaction,nototherwiseexcluded (§1508.4),willnothaveasignificanteffectonthehumanenvironmentandforwhichan environmental impact statement therefore will notbeprepared.Itshallincludethe environmentalassessmentorasummaryofit andshallnoteanyotherenvironmental documentsrelatedtoit(§1501.7(a)(5)).Iftheassessmentisincluded,thefindingneednot repeatanyofthediscussionintheassessment but may incorporate it by reference.

 

§ 1508.14 Human environment.

Humanenvironmentshall be interpreted compre- hensivelytoincludethenaturalandphysical environmentandtherelationshipofpeoplewith thatenvironment.(Seethedefinitionof“effects” (§1508.8).)Thismeansthateconomicorsocialeffectsarenotintendedbythemselvestorequire preparationofanenvironmentalimpactstatement.Whenanenvironmentalimpact statement is prepared and economic or social and naturalorphysicalenvironmentaleffectsare interrelated,thentheenvironmentalimpact statementwilldiscussalloftheseeffectsonthe human environment.

 

§ 1508.27 Significantly.

SignificantlyasusedinNEPArequiresconsider- ations of both context and intensity:

 

 

 

(a)   Context. Thismeansthatthesignificanceof anactionmustbeanalyzedinseveralcontexts suchassocietyasawhole(human,national),the affectedregion,theaffectedinterests,andthe locality.Significancevarieswiththesettingof the proposed action. For instance, in the case of a site-specificaction,significancewouldusually dependupontheeffectsinthelocaleratherthan intheworldasawhole.Bothshort-andlong-term effects are relevant.

(b)   Intensity. Thisreferstotheseverityofimpact.Responsibleofficialsmustbearinmind thatmorethanoneagencymaymakedecisions aboutpartialaspectsofamajoraction.The followingshouldbeconsideredinevaluating intensity:

(1)   Impactsthatmaybebothbeneficialand adverse.Asignificanteffectmayexistevenif theFederalagencybelievesthatonbalancethe effect will be beneficial.

(2)   Thedegreetowhichtheproposedaction affects public health or safety.

(3)   Uniquecharacteristicsofthegeographic areasuchasproximitytohistoricorcultural resources,parklands,primefarmlands, wetlands,wildandscenicrivers,orecologically critical areas.

(4)   Thedegreetowhichtheeffectsonthe qualityofthehumanenvironmentarelikelyto be highly controversial.

 

 

 

(5)   Thedegreetowhichthepossibleeffectson thehumanenvironmentarehighlyuncertain or involve unique or unknown risks.

(6)   Thedegreetowhichtheactionmayestablishaprecedentforfutureactionswith significanteffectsorrepresentsadecisionin principle about a future consideration.

(7)   Whethertheactionisrelatedtoother actionswithindividuallyinsignificantbut cumulativelysignificantimpacts.Significance existsifitisreasonabletoanticipatea cumulativelysignificantimpactonthe environment.Significancecannotbeavoidedby terminganactiontemporaryorbybreakingit down into small component parts.

(8)   Thedegreetowhichtheactionmay adverselyaffectdistricts,sites,highways, structures,orobjectslistedinoreligiblefor listingintheNationalRegisterofHistoric Placesormaycauselossordestructionof significantscientific,cultural,orhistorical resources.

(9)   Thedegreetowhichtheactionmay adverselyaffectanendangeredorthreatened speciesoritshabitatthathasbeendetermined tobecriticalundertheEndangeredSpeciesAct of 1973.

(10)    Whethertheactionthreatensaviolationof Federal,State,orlocallaworrequirements imposed for the protection of the environment.

05-19-2014 Goodman Houser AMICI CURIAE Brief

(Unfortunately, Adobe PDF file converter has a tendency to run words together

so I am providing access both through the link below as well as by scrolling down to read the ‘converted file.)

05-19-2014 Goodman Houser DBOC brief

No. 13-1244

————————————————————————

In the Supreme Court of theUnited States

——————

DRAKES BAY OYSTER COMPANY AND KEVIN LUNNY,

Petitioners,

SALLY JEWELL, SECRETARY OF THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR; ETAL.,

——————

On Petition For WritOf Certiorari To The UnitedStates Court Of Appeals For The Ninth Circuit

——————

BRIEF OF DR. COREY S. GOODMAN AND DR.PAUL R.HOUSER

AS AMICI CURIAE

SUPPORTING PETITIONERS AND REVERSAL

 

PETERS.PROWS

Counsel of Record JOHN BRISCOE LAWRENCE S.BAZEL BRISCOE IVESTER &

BAZEL LLP

155 Sansome Street

Seventh Floor

San Francisco, CA 94104(415) 402-2700

pprows@briscoelaw.net

CounselFor Amici Curiae

 

 

TABLE OFCONTENTS

INTEREST OF AMICI CURIAE…………………………. 1

SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT:SCIENTIFIC INTEGRITY IS

CENTRAL TO OUR DEMOCRACY…………… 6

ARGUMENT………………………………………………….. 8

  1. SCIENTIFIC MISCONDUCT UNDERMINES OUR DEMOCRACY:

THREE EXAMPLES……………………………….. 8

  1. Drakes Bay Oyster Company………….. 8
  2. KlamathRiver DamsRemoval……….. 13
  3. Department of Justice………………….. 16
  1. THERE ISA LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY FOR SCIENTIFIC

MISCONDUCT IN GOVERNMENT………… 17

  1. Need For Scientific Integrity

Policy BecomesApparent………………. 17

  1. The Rocky Development And Implementation Of The President’s Scientific Integrity

Policy…………………………………………. 19

  1. COURTS HAVE AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN ENSURING SCIENTIFIC

INTEGRITY IN GOVERNMENT…………….. 22

CONCLUSION……………………………………………… 26

 

Cases

 

TABLE OF AUTHORITIES

 

Daubertv.Merrell Dow Pharms.,

509 U.S. 579 (1993)……………………………….7, 22, 23

General Electric,Inc.v. Joiner,

522 U.S. 136 (1997)……………………………………. 25

San Luis & Delta-MendotaWater Auth. v.

Salazar,

(E.D. Cal. no. 1:09-cv-00407)………………………23,24

United States v. Olsen,

737 F.3d 625 (9th Cir.2013)…………………16, 17, 21

Statutes and Other Authorities

33 U.S.C.§1251(a)(2)………………………………………. 9

Fed. R. Evid. R. 702……………………………………….. 22

P.L. 106-554 § 515, 114 Stat. 2763A-153-154

(December 21,2000)…………………………………… 20

Delta Smelt Cases,Bench Rulingon Motion toStay Pending Appeal (Sept. 16, 2011), dkt. no.1056, availableat http://plf.typepad.com/

files/9-16-11-motion-to-stay-final-1.pdf………………… 23

Department of Justice, Scientific and ResearchIntegrityPolicy, at 1,available athttp://www.justice.gov/open/doj-scientific-

integrity-policy.pdf…………………………………….. 21

Department of theInterior, Integrity ofScientific and Scholarly Activities (January28, 2011),available at http://elips.doi.gov/

elips/0/ doc/3045/Page1.aspx………………………… 10

 

 

Emily Yehle, “Rushed USGSReport OnOysterFarm Misrepresented Biologist’sFindings”,Greenwire(May 14, 2013), availableathttp://www.eenews.net/greenwire/

stories/1059981143……………………………………… 20

“In Private Letter, Tim Ragen Admits NoEvidenceFor Seal Study”,Point Reyes Light(August 9, 2012), available at http://www.ptreyeslight.com/article/private-letter-tim-

ragen-admits-no-evidence-seal-study…………….. 13

John Bowman,“Secretary Of InteriorAnnouncesResignation”, Taft MidwayDriller(Jan. 17, 2013), availableat http://www.taftmidwaydriller.com/article/20130117/NEW

S/130119808/0/FRONTPAGE……………………….. 14

John P. Holdren, Director, Officeof Science andTechnology Policy,Memorandum on Scientific Integrity, (December 17, 2010),available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/scientific-

integrity-memo-12172010.pdf………………………. 19

Letter from Dr. Paul Houser, Scientific IntegrityOfficer, Bureauof Reclamation, to theDepartment of theInterior, Allegation OfScientific And Scholarly Misconduct AndReprisal For A Disclosure ConcerningTheBiased Summarization Of Key ScientificConclusionsFor The Klamath River DamRemoval Secretarial Determination Process(February 24, 2012), available athttp://www.peer.org/assets/docs/doi/8_8_12_H

ouser_sci_integ_complaint.pdf…………………. 14-15

 

 

Letter from JonathanB. Jarvis,Director,National Park Service, to Amber D. Abbasi,counsel for Dr. Goodman(Dec. 21, 2012),available athttp://causeofaction.org/assets/uploads/2013/03/FINAL-Report_Exhibits.pdf

at Exhibit 51 (page 1003)…………………………….. 20

Marine Mammal Commission,Mariculture AndHarbor Seals In Drakes Estero,California at

27 (November 22, 2011)………………………………. 12

National Academy of Sciences, ResponsibleScience: Ensuringthe Integrityof theResearchProcess at 27 (1992),availableat

http://nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=1864.…………. 18

National ResearchCouncil, EndangeredAndThreatenedFishes In The Klamath RiverBasin: Causes Of Decline And Strategies ForRecovery at 5-6 (2004), availableat http://

www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=10838…………. 13

Presidential Memorandum on Scientific Integrity (March 9, 2009), availableat http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/memorandum-heads-executive-departments-

and-agencies-3-9-09……………………………………. 19

RemarksBy The President At The NationalAcademy Of Sciences Annual Meeting(April28, 2009),available at http://www.whitehouse. gov/the_press_office/Remarks-by-the-President-at-the-National-Academy-of-

Sciences-Annual-Meeting………………………………. 6

 

 

RESOLVE,IndependentEvaluationOf TheScientific Record Pertaining To TheAllegations Of Dr. Paul Houser(August 2012)available at http://www.doi.gov/scientificintegrity/upload/DOI-SI-Case-313-

Independent-Report.pdf………………………………. 15

U.S. House of Representatives,Committee onNatural Resources,Officeof Oversight andInvestigations:Holding InteriorWatchdogAccountable, 59-66 (February 21, 2013),available at http://naturalresources.house.gov/uploadedfiles/oversightreportdepartment

ofinterior.pdf…………………………………………….. 15

William Broad and NicholasWade, Betrayers OfThe Truth: Fraud And Deceit In The Halls Of

Science(1982)……………………………………………. 18

 

 

INTERESTOFAMICICURIAE1

  1. CoreyS.Goodman
  2. CoreyS.Goodman’sinterestinthiscasedatesbacktoApril28,2007whenMarinCountySupervisor Steve Kinsey (then President of the BoardofSupervisors,andtodayChairoftheCalifornia CoastalCommission)contactedDr.Goodman,baseduponhisscientificcredentialsandexperienceinscienceandpublicpolicy,andaskedhimtoanalyzetheNationalParkServicescienceconcerningDrakesEstero.SupervisorKinseyinvitedDr.GoodmantotestifyasanindependentscientistattheMay 8,2007CountyhearingastowhetherPark ServicedatasupportedParkServiceclaims.Atthetime,Dr.GoodmandidnotknowKevinLunny,ownerofDrakesBayOysterCompany.Dr.GoodmantestifiedthatParkServiceofficialsmisrepresentedtheirown dataineverycategoryofenvironmentalharm.HisanalysisshowedParkServicedatadidnotsupportPark Serviceclaims.
  3. Goodman’sknowledgeofthescience involvingtheoysterfarmledhimtowritenumerousreportstoFederal,State,andCountyagenciesandcommittees,toworkwithelectedofficialsatalllevelsofgovernment,andtopublishnumerousarticles/op-edsinlocalmediaabouttheoysterfarmcontroversy

 

 

 

1    Counselforpetitionersis alsocounselforamiciDr.GoodmanandDr.Houser,and,withtheassistanceofamici,preparedthisbriefinitsentirely.Allhardcostsarebeingpaidbyamici,andcounsel’stimehasbeengivenprobono.Amicigavetimelynoticetoallpartiesoftheirintenttofilethisbrief.Allpartiesgavetheirconsenttothisfiling,andthoseconsentsarebeingsubmittedwiththisbrief.

 

 

withafocusonthemisrepresentationofsciencebyNPSandtheirsupporters,andthelackofevidenceshowingenvironmentalharmbytheoysterfarm.Dr.Goodmanalsofiledanamicusbriefinsupportoftheoysterfarm’spetitionforrehearingenbancwiththeNinthCircuitCourtofAppeals.Hisfocushascontinuedtobeontheimportanceofscientificintegrity in guiding policy decisions.

  1. GoodmanwasProfessorofBiologyatStanfordUniversityandEvanRauchChairofNeurobiologyatUniversityofCaliforniaBerkeleyfortwenty-fiveyearsbeforeretiringandmovingintotheprivatesectorwhereheisManagingPartnerofvenBioPartnersLLC,alifesciencesventurecapitalfirm.Dr.GoodmanremainsAdjunctProfessorof AnatomyandBiochemistry&BiophysicsattheUniversityofCaliforniaSanFrancisco.Hehaspublishedover200peer-reviewedscientificpapers.HeisanelectedmemberoftheNationalAcademyofSciences,AmericanAcademyofArtsandSciences,andAmericanPhilosophicalSociety,andrecipientofmany honorsincludingtheAlanT.WatermanAward,CanadaGairdnerBiomedicalAward,March-of-DimesPrizeinDevelopmentalBiology,Reeve-IrvineResearchMedal,andDawsonPrizein Genetics.

Sinceretiringfromhisacademiccareer,Dr.Goodmanhasworkedintheprivatesector,firstasPresidentandCEOofabiotechnologycompanyheco-founded,tookpublic,and thensoldtoalargercompany,thenasPresidentofPfizer’sBiotherapeuticsandBioinnovationCenterandamemberofPfizer’sexecutiveleadershipteam,and todayasmanagingpartnerofaventurecapitalfirmheco-foundedandChairofsixbiotechnologycompanies. Inthesecapacities, hehasoverseentech-

 

 

nologyinnovationsfornewtherapeuticapproachestohumandisease,anddrugdiscoveryanddevelopmentprogramsindiverseareasincludingneurologicaldisease,pain,cancer,metabolicdisease,immunedisease, and cardio-vascular disease.

Amongsthispublicpolicyroles,Dr.GoodmanistodayChairoftheCaliforniaCouncilonScienceandTechnology(advisingtheGovernorandStateLegislature)andisformerChairoftheNationalResearchCouncil’sBoardonLifeSciences(advisingtheFederalGovernment).Inthesecapacities,hehas overseenarangeofstudiesandreportstotheFederalandCaliforniaGovernmentontopicsincludingstemcells,humancloning,waterborne pathogens,thenation’senvironmentalchallenges,reorganizationoftheNationalInstitutesofHealth,hydraulicfracking, and water policy management.

  1. Goodman’sanalysisofthedatabehindtheParkService’sclaimsabouttheoysterfarmhasallbeen done pro bono as a public service.
  2. PaulR.Houser’sinterestinthiscase focusesonitsscientificintegrityandethicalissues. Dr.Houseriskeenlyinterestedintheissueofscientificintegrity,andhaspursuedinitiativestorestore public trust in government science.
  3. Houserisaninternationallyrecognizedexpertinsurface-atmosphericremotesensing,in-situobservation,numericalsimulation,hydrologicdataassimilation,scientificintegrityandpolicy, andglobalwaterandenergycycling.Hiscareerbeganin1988exploringsurfacewaterqualityissuesintheYakimaRiverBasin(WashingtonState)attheU.S.Geological Survey, followed by thedevelopmentoflandfill cover technology at Los Alamos National

Dr.PaulR.Houser

 

 

Laboratoryin1991.In1997,Dr.HouserjoinedtheNASA-GSFCHydrologicalSciencesBranchandtheDataAssimilationOffice,servedasmanagerofNASA’sLandSurfaceHydrologyProgramfrom1999-2000,andservedasbranchheadoftheHydrologicalScienceBranchfrom2000-2005.In2005,Dr.HouserjoinedtheGeorgeMasonUniversityClimateDynamicsProgramandtheGeographyandGeo-informationSciencesDepartmentasProfessorofGlobalHydrology,andformedtheCenterforResearchforEnvironmentandWaterwiththe missiontoquantifyandpredictwatercycleandenvironmentalconsequencesofearthsystemvari-ability and change.

  1. Houserhaslednumerousscientificcontributions,includingthedevelopmentofLandDataAssimilationSystems,theHydrosphericStatesMission, theLand InformationSystem, theNASAEnergyandWatercycleStudy,andtheWaterCycleSolutionsNetwork(WaterNet).Hehaspublishedover120peer-reviewpublications.In2000,Dr.HouserwonthePresidentialEarlyCareerAwardforScientistsandEngineers(PECASE),andin2005hewon the NASA Softwareof theYear Award.

In2011-2012,Dr.Houserserved asScience AdvisortotheU.S.BureauofReclamation,wherehe wasresponsiblefordevelopingscientificintegrity,peerreview,anddatastewardshippolicies,aswellascoordinatingReclamationactivitieswithotheragenciesandthescientificcommunity.Afterraisingconcernsaboutthescientificintegrityofbiased sciencereportingconcerningtheproposedKlamathdamremovals,Dr.HouserwasfiredfromReclamation.HeraisedhisconcernstotheOfficeofSpecialCouncilinaformalwhistleblowercase,andwith the Department of the Interior in a formal

 

 

scientificintegrityallegation.The whistleblowercasewassettledwithafavorableoutcome,andthescientificintegritycasewasdismissedlargelybecauseanindependentreviewfoundthatbiasin science-basedpressreleaseswasstandardbusinesspracticeattheDepartmentoftheInterior.Dr.HouserhadnofiduciarytiesorconflictsassociatedwiththeKlamathRiverdecisionprocess.Heisnotfororagainstdamremoval,butratherisforthebestscienceinformingpolicydecisionsthatobeythelaw,protect the environment and advance society.

  1. HouserhasauniqueperspectiveontheDepartmentoftheInterior’sScientificIntegrityPolicybecausehe:(i)servedontheteamthatwrote Interior’sScientificIntegrityPolicy;(ii)servedasReclamation’sScientificIntegrityOfficerwhere heprocessedscientificintegrityallegations(e.g.,JudgeWanger’sSeptember2011allegationsonDelta-Smeltissues);and(iii)wasthesubjectofwhistleblowerretaliationrelatedtohisscientificintegrityconcernswiththeKlamathDamremoval.HehasusedhisuniqueexperiencetoofferacritiqueofDOI’sScientificIntegrityPolicy(August2012)whichispartiallyreportedin this brief.
  2. Houserhashadnoinvolvementin decisionsaboutDrakesBayOysterCompany,andisnotadvisingthecompanyinitslitigationagainsttheDepartment of the Interior.

 

 

 

SUMMARYOF ARGUMENT:SCIENTIFICINTEGRITYIS CENTRAL TO

OUR DEMOCRACY

TheEinsteinMemorialoutsidetheNationalAcademyofSciencesbuildinginWashingtonD.C.isinscribedwithaquotationfromAlbertEinstein:Therighttosearchfortruthimpliesalsoaduty;onemustnotconcealanypartofwhatonehasrecognizedto be true.”

Inthesamevein,PresidentObamareceivedastandingovationfromthecountry’stopscientistsattheNationalAcademyofSciencesannualmeetingin2009whenhesaid:“thedaysofsciencetakingabackseattoideologyareover.Ourprogressasanation–andourvaluesasanation–arerootedinfreeandopeninquiry.Tounderminescientificintegrityis to undermine our democracy.”2

Nowherearetheseprinciplesmoreimportantthaningovernment decision-making. WhenCongresspasseslaws,agenciesmakedecisions,andcourtshanddownrulings,people’slivesandlivelihoods—andtheenvironmentalfutureofourplanet—areontheline.Ensuringthatdecisionsusethe best science is central to good government.

Buttoooften,asthisbriefexplains,scientificmisconduct—definedasfabrication,falsification,plagiarism,orretaliation—isusedtosupportgovernmentdecisions. Thegovernmentdecisionat

 

 

2   RemarksByThePresidentAtTheNationalAcademyOfSciencesAnnualMeeting(April28,2009),availableathttp://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-by-the-President-at-the-National-Academy-of-Sciences-Annual-Meeting.

 

 

issueinthiscasewasthedenialofanewpermittoahistoricoysterfarminCalifornia.Thatdecisionwasbasedinpartonanenvironmentalanalysisthatfalselyclaimedtofindasignificantadverseimpact,eventhoughtheagency’sownanalysisofthedata,confirmedbytheagency’soutsideexpert,found“no evidence”ofanyimpact.Thefalseclaimofharmfollowedayears-longpatternofotherfalse,andnowretracted,claimsbytheParkServicethattheoyster farmcausesenvironmentalharm.Inothercases,agencieshaveoverstatedprojects’benefitswhilehidingnegativeimpacts,retaliatedagainstwhistleblowers,andhidexculpatorylaboratoryevidence from the criminally accused.

Worse    still    is     the     persistent    lack    ofaccountability    for    scientific   misconduct.                        Theexecutivebranchhasrecentlydevelopedascientificintegritypolicy,andyetmisconductcomplaintscanstill go unaddressed and scientific whistleblowersstillsufferretaliation. Andinthiscase,thefederalcourtshavedeclaredthattheylackjurisdictiontosetasideagencydecisionsforabuseofdiscretionevenwhen they are based in part on scientificmisconduct.

Althoughmostjudgesprofessnospecialscientificexpertise,theydohaveanimportantroleinensuringscientificintegrityingovernmentdecision-making.InDaubert,theSupremeCourtrecognizedthatjudgescanandshouldactasgatekeepersto screenunreliablesciencefromthereliable. Theabuseofscienceinthiscasegoes far beyondharmlesserrors,unreliabledata,differencesofopinion,orhonestmistakes.TheCourtshouldtake thiscasetomakeclearthatjudgescanandshouldprovidearemedywhengovernmentdecisionsarebased on scientific misconduct.

 

 

 

ARGUMENT

 

  1. SCIENTIFIC MISCONDUCTUNDERMINES OURDEMOCRACY:THREE EXAMPLES

A.          Drakes Bay Oyster Company

OnthewesterncoastofthecontinentalUnitedStates,inPointReyes,California,justnorthofSanFrancisco,isan80-yearoldfamily-runoysterfarm,DrakesBayOysterCompany.When Point ReyeswasacquiredbytheNationalParkService(creatingPointReyesNationalSeashore),thePark Serviceandeveryinterestedcivicandenvironmentalgroupsupportedthelong-termcontinuationofthefarm.Itwasahistoriccollaborationbetweenenviron-mentalistsandagriculturalistsinwhathasbecomeahugelysuccessfulmodelfortherestoftheworld–thatproductionofwholesomefoodcanexistin harmonywith protectionof the environment.3

Forthepasteightyears,however,apatternhasdevelopedoftheParkServiceandsomeofthosesameenvironmentalgroupsmakingonefalseclaimofenvironmentalharmafteranotheragainstthe oysterfarm.Thefalseclaimsofenvironmentalharmbeganin2006,whenlocalParkServiceofficialsbeganclaimingthattheoysterfarmwaspolluting

 

 

3    ForanextendeddiscussionofthesupportthefarmenjoyedfromtheParkService,andenvironmentalgroupsliketheSierraClubandtheEnvironmentalActionCommitteeofWestMarin,duringthecreationoftheSeashoreandthepassageofwildernesslegislationthere,seegenerallyBriefOfDr.LauraWatt,AmicusCuriaeInSupportOfPetitionForRehearingEnBanc(Oct.25,2013),NinthCircuitdocket(“CA9dkt.”)no.78-1.

 

 

the water,smotheringeelgrass,harmingfish,anddegradingtheecology.Mostalarmingly,in 2007,ParkServiceofficialssaidtheoysterfarm’sownersshouldbeprosecutedforcommitting“environmentalfelonies”becausethefarmallegedlycausedan80%declineinthelocalharborsealpopulation,a protected marine mammal.4

Thesechargesweresurprising.Clams,oysters, and other shellfish were an important part oftheenvironmentalbaselineforDrakesEstero,5justastheywereforSanFranciscoBayandothercoastalbaysandestuariesaroundtheworldbeforemostwerefishedoutordestroyedbypollution.Oystersactuallyprovideenvironmentalbenefitsbyclarifyingwater.Thosebenefitsarewhyoystersarebeingrestoredinprojectsaroundtheworld.AndthosebenefitsarewhyCongress,intheCleanWaterAct, listedthe“protectionandpropagationof…shellfish”asoneofthegoalsofreducedpollutionandcleanerwater.33 U.S.C. § 1251(a)(2).

TheParkService’ssurprisingchargespromptedthePresidentoftheMarinCountyBoardofSupervisorstoaskDr.Goodmantoreview theParkService’sdata.Dr.Goodmanfoundthatthepubliclyavailabledatadidnotsupporttheclaimsofmajoradverseimpactsonwaterquality,sediments,eelgrass, fish, or the ecology.

TheParkService’sharborsealclaimswerealsofalse. HarborsealpopulationsinDrakesBay

 

 

4Districtcourtdocket(“N.D.Cal.dkt.”)no.39-1at38.ReferencestopagenumbersindocumentsfiledbelowaretothepagenumberECF-stampedtothetopofthedocument.

5N.D.Cal.dkt.no.39-2at20.

 

 

werestable,withsomedisturbancescomingfromwildlife,othersfromparkvisitors,butnonefromtheoysterfarm.Threeyearslater,theParkServiceformally retracted its 80%-decline claim.

In2009,theNationalAcademyreleasedareportontheParkService’sclaims.6ItfoundthattheParkServicehad“selectivelypresented,overinterpreted, ormisinterpreted”the availabledata,andconcludedthat,atDrakesBay,“thereisa lackofstrongscientificevidencethatshellfish farminghas major adverse ecological effects”.7

Bythatpoint,theParkServicehadretractedmostoftheclaimsitmadeagainsttheoysterfarmin2006.InJanuary2011,theDepartmentoftheInteriorreleasedascientificintegritypolicy.8Aroundthesametime,theSolicitor’sOfficeoftheDepartmentofInteriorconcludedthatParkServicescientistsshowed“bias”,“advocacy”,a“troublingmind-set”,andthatfiveemployeeshad“violated[theParkService]CodeofScientificandScholarlyConduct”.9

With the retractionof the false claims, rebukesbytheNationalAcademyandtheParkService’sownlawyers,andtheinstitutionofanewscientificintegritypolicy,therewasreasontohopethattheParkService’suseofscienceconcerningtheoyster

 

 

 

 

6Id.

7Id.at85-86,99.

8DepartmentoftheInterior,IntegrityofScientificandScholarlyActivities(January28,2011),availableathttp://elips.doi.gov/elips/0/doc/3045/Page1.aspx.

9N.D.Cal.dkt.no.40-1at36-37.

 

 

farmwouldimproveasthedecisionontherenewalofthe farm’s permit approached in 2012.

Instead,thepatternoffalseclaimscontinued.Again,themainculpritwastheParkService’sclaimsaboutadverseimpactstoharborseals.In2009,theNationalAcademyconcludedthatinadequatedataexistedtosupporttheParkService’sclaimthatthefarmdisturbstheseals,butrecommendedthatthecontroversycouldberesolvediftheParkServiceestablishedacamerasurveillancesystem.10Infact,suchaprogramhadsecretlybeeninplacesince2007,collectingphotographsofsealsandoysterboatseveryminuteofthedayduringpuppingseasonforoverthreeyears—foratotalofmore than 300,000 photographs.11                                                                 TheParkService’sprivateanalysisofthosephotographswaswithheldfromtheNationalAcademyandthepublic,presumablybecausethatanalysisdidnotrevealdisturbances by the farm.12

Inearly2012,theParkServicecontractedoneoftheworld’sforemostmarinemammalbehaviorexperts,Dr.BrentStewart,tore-analyzethephotos.Dr.StewartsubmittedhisreportinMay2012.13Dr.Stewartfound“noevidenceofdisturbance”ofsealsbyoysterboats.14Dr.Stewart’sreportshouldhavefinally put the issueto rest.

 

 

 

 

10N.D.Cal.dktno.39-2at59-60.

11N.D.Cal.dktnos.40-1at17and41-3at5.

12N.D.Cal.dktno.40-1at13-14.

13ExcerptsofRecord(“ER”)279-285.

14Id.; see also N.D. Cal. dkt. no. 52-1 at 29-35 (Dr.Goodman’sanalysisofDr.Stewart’sreport).

 

 

Unfortunately,itdidn’t.OnNovember20,2012,theParkService released anenvironmentalimpactstatement(EIS)ontheoysterfarm.TheEISconcludedthattheoysterfarmhasasignificant “adverseimpact” onharborseals.15Dr.Stewart’sfinding of “noevidence of disturbance”wastransformedintoafalsefindingthatthefarmdidinfactcauseseriousdisturbances.16Thismanipulationofresearchresultsisaformofscientificmisconduct known as falsification. SeePart II.A below.

Aweeklater,SecretarySalazardecidednottorenewtheoysterfarm’spermit,citing,inpart,theconclusionsaboutenvironmentalharmintheEIS.17Ideology had triumphed over science.18

 

 

 

15SupplementalExcerptsofRecordat58.

16ER284-285.

17Petitioners’Appendixat162.

18Inthedistrictcourt,Dr.Goodman’sopinionthattheEIS“misrepresents”Dr.Stewart’sconclusionsaboutharborsealswentunrebutted.ER188.InitsbrieftotheNinthCircuit,InteriortriedtodefendtheEISbycitingastudyfromtheMarineMammalCommission(“MMC”).CA9dkt.no.36-1at55n.10.ButtheMMCreportdoesnothingtosupporttheEIS’sharborsealconclusions.AfterreviewingthethreeyearsofParkServicephotographsatissuehere,theMMCdescribedasinglepotentialoyster-boat-relateddisturbanceonMay15,2008,andadvisedthata“fullerexamination”ofthephotographswasnecessarytoformanyconclusions“withareasonablelevelofconfidence”.MarineMammalCommission, Mariculture AndHarbor Seals In DrakesEstero,Californiaat27(November22,2011).Dr.Stewartconductedjustsuchafullerexaminationofthephotographs,andheconcluded,withparticularreferencetothepotentialdisturbanceonMay15,2008,thatthere

 

 

B.          KlamathRiverDams Removal

WateruseintheKlamathBasininOregonandCaliforniahasbeenasourceofconflictbetweentribes,farmers,environmentalists,apowercompany,andthegovernmentsfordecades.In2002,manyblamedamassiveChinooksalmonkillonanallegedlypoliticallymotivateddecisiontodivertwatertofarmersratherthantoinstreamflows.A2004NationalAcademyofSciencesreportcomplicatedthepicturebyconcludingthatpoorwaterquality,ratherthanlowinstreamflows,wasthemainrisktothreatenedandendangered species.19

WhentheObamaadministrationcameintooffice,itbeganconsideringabillion-dollarprojecttoremovefourdamsontheKlamathRiver.Therewasnevermuchdoubtabouttheoutcome:in2009,InteriorSecretarySalazariswidelyreportedtohave

 

 

 

 

 

 

was“noevidenceofdisturbance”.N.D.Cal.dkt.no.52-1at15.TheDirectoroftheMMClateradmittedinalettertoDr.Goodman(blindcopiedtotheParkService)thattherewasnoevidencesupportingtheMMCclaimsofharborsealdisturbancesbytheoysterfarm.Editorial,“InPrivateLetter,TimRagenAdmitsNoEvidenceForSealStudy”,PointReyesLight(August9,2012),availableathttp://www.ptreyeslight.com/article/private-letter-tim-ragen-admits-no-evidence-seal-study.

19NationalResearchCouncil,EndangeredAndThreatenedFishesInTheKlamathRiverBasin:CausesOfDeclineAndStrategiesForRecoveryat5-6(2004),available              at             http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=10838.

 

 

proclaimed that the proposal to remove the dams“will not fail”.20

InApril2011,theBureauofReclamation(anagencywithinInterior)hiredDr.PaulHouserasitsScienceAdvisorandScientificIntegrityOfficer—apositioncreatedafterInteriorreleaseditsscientificintegrity policy in January 2011.

InSeptember2011,InteriorreleasedadraftEISforthedamremovalproject.Dr.HousercomplainedtohissuperiorsthatthedraftEISanditsaccompanyingpressreleasemisrepresentedthesciencepanelreportsthathadbeencommissionedonthedamremovalproject,emphasizingthepositivebenefitswithouttheuncertaintiesornegativesidentifiedbythepanel.InFebruary2012,justonemonthbeforeSecretarySalazarwasscheduledtoformallymakehisdecision,Dr.Houserwasterminated.HebelievedthiswasretaliatoryandintendedtopreventhimfrominvestigatingwhetherthefinalEISwasalsotaintedbyscientificmisconduct.Inresponse,hefiledawhistleblowercomplaintwithInterior’sInspectorGeneralaswellasascientificmisconductcomplaintwithInterior’sScientific Integrity Officer.21

 

 

20JohnBowman,“SecretaryOfInteriorAnnouncesResignation”,TaftMidwayDriller(Jan.17,2013),availableathttp://www.taftmidwaydriller.com/article/20130117/NEWS/130119808/0/FRONTPAGE.

21LetterfromDr.PaulHouser,ScientificIntegrityOfficer,BureauofReclamation,totheDepartmentoftheInterior,AllegationOfScientificAndScholarlyMis-conductAndReprisalForADisclosureConcerningTheBiasedSummarizationOfKeyScientificConclusionsForTheKlamathRiverDamRemovalSecretarialDeterminationProcess(February24,2012),availableat

 

 

InMarch2013,InteriorreleasedareportonDr.Houser’sscientificintegritycomplaint.22ThereportwaswrittenbyanoutsideconsultantwhosemainclientisInterior.23Interiortaskedtheconsultantwithansweringagivenasetofquestions,andtheconsultantdidnotinterview witnesses.24Thereportdismissedthechargeof“misconduct”asbut“normalpractice”.25Interior’sScientificIntegrityOfficer,whoreportstotheSecretaryofInterior,agreed and closed the case.

InMay2013,theHouseofRepresentatives CommitteeonNaturalResourcesreleasedareportonInterior’sInspectorGeneral,highlightingtheKlamathRiverscientificintegritycomplaintbecauseofwhattheCommitteeconcludedwerefailuresofbothInteriorandInterior’sInspectorGeneral(IG).26The   House   Committee   reported   that   an   IG

 

 

http://www.peer.org/assets/docs/doi/8_8_12_Houser_sci_integ_complaint.pdf.

22RESOLVE,IndependentEvaluationOfTheScientificRecordPertainingToTheAllegationsOfDr.PaulHouser(August2012)(“RESOLVEreport”),availableathttp://www.doi.gov/scientificintegrity/upload/DOI-SI-Case-313-Independent-Report.pdf.

23      SeeRESOLVEReportsandPapers,availableathttp://www.resolv.org/resources/reports-papers(listingRESOLVEreportsdoneforInterior).

24   RESOLVEreport,supra,at4-7.

25   Id.at9.

26U.S.HouseofRepresentatives,CommitteeonNaturalResources,OfficeofOversightandInvestigations:HoldingInteriorWatchdogAccountable,59-66(February21,2013),availableathttp://naturalresources.house.gov/uploadedfiles/oversightreportdepartmentofinterior.pdf.

 

 

investigatorthoughtitwaslikelythatDr.HouserwasterminatedbecauseInteriordisagreedwithhisscientificanalysis.Theinvestigatorsthoughtthe reasonscitedbyInteriorfortheterminationwere“trivial”.Still,Dr.Houserhasnotbeenreinstated,andbothhiswhistleblowerandscientificmisconductcomplaintshave been quietly dismissed.

C.          DepartmentofJustice

Inawidelynoticedrecentdissent,ChiefJudgeAlexKozinskioftheNinthCircuitCourtofAppealscriticizedan“epidemic”ofDepartmentofJusticeprosecutorsfailingtodiscloseexculpatoryscientificinformationtodefendantsandthecourts.UnitedStatesv.Olsen,737F.3d625,626(9thCir.2013)(Kozinski,C.J.,dissentingfromdenialofreh’genbanc),petitionforcertiorarifiledApril24,2014(no.13-1287).InOlsen,theprosecutorfailedtodisclosethatthekeypieceofforensicevidence—labresultsfindingthatpillswerelacedwith poison—wascreatedbyapolicetechnicianwhohadbeenterminatedfor“grossmisconduct”incontaminating manyotherlabsamplesinothercases.Id.at627.ChiefJudgeKozinskiconcludedaboutthescience:“nearlyeverythingthedistrictjudgeunderstood tobetrue was false”.Id.at 628.

But that was not an isolated case.ChiefJudge Kozinskicitedthe“distressinglycommon”phenomenonthathascometolightinrecentyears,involvingmanythousandsofcases,oflabtechniciansfalsifyingtheirresultstosupportaprosecution.Id.at632.AndprosecutorsfromJusticehavetoooftenobliged:“IwishIcouldsaythattheprosecutor’sun-professionalismhereistheexception…[b]utitwouldn’tbetrue”.Id.at631.Insupport,hecited29publishedappellateopinionsfromjustthelastten yearsinwhichcourtsaroundthecountryfoundthat

 

 

prosecutorshadfailedtodiscloseexculpatoryevidence.Id.at631-632.Presumablymanymorecaseshavegoneundiscoveredbecause“alltheincentivesprosecutorsconfrontencouragethemnottodiscoverordiscloseexculpatoryevidence”.Id.at630.

ChiefJudgeKozinskirecognizedthatscientific misconductbyJusticeiscorrosivetooursystemofgovernment,andthatcourtshaveashareoftheresponsibility:

Whenapublicofficialbehaveswithsuchcasualdisregardforhisconstitutionalobligationsandtherightsoftheaccused,iterodesthepublic’strust inourjusticesystem,andchipsawayatthefoundationalpremisesoftheruleoflaw.Whensuchtransgressionsareacknowledgedyetforgivenbythecourts,weendorseandinvite their repetition.

  1. at632.Heconcludedbyurgingcourtsto“sendprosecutorsaclearmessage”byvacatingthe“ill-gotten conviction”. Id.at 633.

 

II.         THEREISALACKOF ACCOUNTABILITYFOR SCIENTIFICMISCONDUCTINGOVERNMENT

  1. Need For Scientific IntegrityPolicyBecomesApparent

Historically,scientificresearchreliedonaself- regulatinghonorsystem.Inthe1980’s,however,thescientificcommunitywasrockedbyaseriesofhighlypublicizedcasesofscientificmisconduct.Asaresult,thefederalgovernmentsetintomotionpoliciesto

 

 

oversee research conduct, and adjudicate researchmisconduct.

In1981,asubcommitteeofCongress,undertheleadershipofthen-CongressmanAlGore,heldhearingsonfraudinbiomedicalresearchinresponsetowidespreadreportsofscientistsfalsifyingtheirdata. Such cases wereexposedin several books.27

Congress,thepublic,andmanyothersinthescientificcommunitywantedoversightoffederally fundedresearch.CongressionalhearingscalledforinvestigationoftheNationalInstitutesofHealth(“NIH”)andotherfederalagencies.Inresponse,variousscientificsocietiesissuedguidelinesforresearchconduct.Thetwofederalagenciesthatsponsorthemostfederallyfundedresearch,NIHandtheNationalScienceFoundation(“NSF”),releasedscientificmisconductpoliciesinthemidtolate1980’s.Bythelate1980’s,theNationalAcademyofScienceswasaskedtoproposeaunifiedfederalpolicy.

In1992,theNationalAcademyrespondedbyreleasingareportthatproposedadefinitionofscientificmisconduct:“fabrication,falsification,orplagiarism,inproposing,performing,orreportingresearch”.28(NSFaddedretaliationagainstwhistleblowerstoitsdefinition.)ThereportrecommendedthatanofficeintheWhiteHouse,the

 

 

27E.g.,WilliamBroadandNicholasWade,BetrayersOfTheTruth:FraudAndDeceitInTheHallsOfScience(1982).

28NationalAcademyofSciences,ResponsibleScience:EnsuringtheIntegrityoftheResearchProcessat27(1992),availableathttp://nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=1864.

 

 

OfficeofScienceandTechnologyPolicy(OSTP),establishcommongovernment-widedefinitionsandproceduresforconfrontingtheproblem.Aunifiedfederalpolicy,soitseemedatthetime,waswithingrasp.

Eightyearslater,in2000,OSTPfinallyissueda“FederalPolicyonResearchMisconduct”thatinstructedagenciestoimplementthepolicy.Someagenciescomplied; others—including theDepartment of the Interior—did not.

B.          The RockyDevelopmentAndImplementationOf The President’sScientificIntegrityPolicy

InMarch 2009,shortly aftercoming into office,PresidentObamareleasedaMemorandumonScientificIntegrityanddirectedOSTPtoprovidedetailed guidelines within120 days.29

ThePresident’spolicygotofftoarockystart.IttookOSTPeighteenmonthstoreleaseamerefourpagesofguidelines.30Thoseguidelines providedlittleguidance.Insteadofprovidingconcretestan-dardsorcommonproceduresforeverygovernmentagencytofollow,astheNationalAcademyhadrecommendedin1992,theguidelinesgaveindividualagencies     nearly     complete     discretion     by

 

 

29      Presidential      Memorandumon  Scientific     Integrity(March          9,         2009),          available           at           http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/memorandum-heads-executive-departments-and-agencies-3-9-09.

30   John P. Holdren, Director, Office of Science andTechnologyPolicy,MemorandumonScientificIntegrity,(December     17,             2010),              available                         at         http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/scientific-integrity-memo-12172010.pdf.

 

 

recommendingthateachagencydevelopitsownpolicies.Andtheguidelinessaidnothingatallabouthowscientificmisconductshouldbeinvestigatedorhowerrors shouldbe corrected.

TheshortcomingsofthePresident’sscientificintegritypolicyandtheOSTPguidelinesaremanifest in each of the cases discussed in Part I.

InthecaseofDrakesBayOysterCompany,effortstogetthefalsifiedscienceintheEIScorrectedhavebeenrejectedorignored.InDecember2012,theParkServiceDirectordismissedaformalcomplaintundertheDataQualityAct31onthegroundthattheSecretary’sdecision“mooted”anyrequirementtocorrectthescienceintheEIS.32AndtheDepartmentofInteriorhasstillnotevendecidedwhether itwill openaformalinvestigation intoaformalscientificmisconductcomplaintDr.GoodmanfiledoneyearagoinMay2013.33(Todate,nearlyeveryoneinvolvedwiththeParkService’sfalsescience in this casehas been promoted.)

Meanwhile,initsbriefstotheNinthCircuitin this case, Interior has continued to cite the EIS’s

 

 

31P.L.106-554§515,114Stat.2763A-153-154(December

21,2000).

32 Letter from Jonathan B. Jarvis, Director, NationalPark Service, to Amber D. Abbasi, counsel for Dr.Goodman          (Dec.         21,         2012),         available          athttp://causeofaction.org/assets/uploads/2013/03/FINAL-Report_Exhibits.pdfatExhibit51(page1003).

33See Emily Yehle, “Rushed USGS Report On OysterFarm Misrepresented Biologist’s Findings”, Greenwire(May     14,               2013),               available                  at           http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059981143   (describing complaint).

 

 

conclusionsaboutadverseimpactstoharborsealsasareason why the farmshould be removed.34

InthecaseoftheKlamathRiver damsremovalproject,thewhistleblowerDr.Houserwasfiredandhismisconductcomplaintshavebeendismissedbyaprocessripewithconflictsandlacking independence, transparency,and accountability.

AndintheOlsencase,thegovernmenthassofarnotconcedederror,andtheJusticeprosecutorwhohidtheexculpatoryevidencehas(toourknowledge)notbeenheldaccountable,eventhoughJusticehasascientificintegritypolicythatacknowledgesthattheDepartmentis“entrustedwithawesomeresponsibilities”andcommitsto“pursue,relyuponandpresentevidencethatiswell-foundedinfactand veracity”.35

Unfortunately,thePresident’sscientificintegritypolicyandOSTP’sguidelineshavefailedtoensureindependentinvestigations,accountabilityfor

 

 

34InopposingDrakesBay’smotionforaninjunctionpendingappeal,InteriorquotedtheParkService’sEIS’sconclusionthatDrakesBaycauses“long-termmoderateadverseimpacts”toharborsealsinsupportoftheargumentthat“thepublicinterestinthequalityoftheDrakesEsteroenvironmentweighsagainstaninjunction”.CA9dkt.no.17-1at20-21.AndinInterior’soppositiontoDrakesBay’smotionforastayofthemandatependingcertiorari,Interioragainarguedthat“theParkService’sinterestinprotectingharborsealsinDrakesEsteroduringpuppingseasonisanequitablefactor”supportingclosureofthefarm.CA9dkt.no.105at11-12.

35   DepartmentofJustice,ScientificandResearchIntegrityPolicy,at1,availableathttp://www.justice.gov/open/doj-scientific-integrity-policy.pdf.

 

 

scientificmisconduct,whistleblowerprotections,andcorrectionof egregious errors.

 

III.       COURTS HAVE ANIMPORTANTROLEINENSURINGSCIENTIFIC INTEGRITYIN GOVERNMENT

Twentyyearsago,inDaubert,thisCourtheldthatfederaljudgeshavethe“gatekeeping”roleinensuringthatonly“scientific…knowledge”isusedasexpertevidenceincourt.Daubertv.MerrellDowPharms.,509U.S.579,590,597(1993)(quotingFed.

  1. Evid.R.702).Whatconstitutesscientificknowledge?ThisCourtexplainedthatitisbasednoton“subjectivebelieforunsupportedspeculation”,buton“themethodsandproceduresofscience”(i.e.,thescientificmethod).Id.at590(internalcitationandquotationmarks omitted).

Mostjudgesarenotscientists,andmany openlystrugglewithscreeningscientificknowledgefromtheunscientific.OnremandinDaubert,forexample,(then)JudgeKozinskicandidlyacknowledgedthatthisCourt’sholding“putsfederaljudges in an uncomfortable position”:

[S]cientistsoftenhavevigorousandsinceredisagreementsastowhatresearchmethodologyisproper,whatshouldbeacceptedassufficientprooffortheexistenceofa“fact,”andwhetherinformationderivedbyaparticularmethodcantellusanythingusefulabout the subject under study.

Ourresponsibility…istoresolvedisputesamongrespected,well-credentialedscientistsaboutmatterssquarelywithintheirexpertise,inareaswherethereisnoscientificconsensusas

 

 

towhatisandwhatisnot“good science,”andoccasionallytorejectsuchexperttestimonybecauseitwasnot “derived by the scientific method.”

Daubertv.MerrellDowPharmaceuticals,43F.3d1311, 1315-16 (9th Cir. 1995).

Ratherthanshirkingthisresponsibility,JudgeKozinskivowedto“takeadeepbreathandproceedwith this heady task”.Id.at 1316.

Intheyearssince Daubert,federaljudgeshaveprovencapableofmanagingthistask. JudgeOliver

  1. WangeroftheEasternDistrictofCalifornia,forexample,presidedoverextremelycomplexandcontentiousEndangeredSpeciesActlitigationabouttheDeltasmelt.SanLuis&Delta-MendotaWaterAuth.v.Salazar(the“DeltaSmeltCases”)(E.D.Cal.no.1:09-cv-00407).ThemainissueinDeltaSmeltCaseswaswhetherthesciencejustifiedrestrictingwaterexportsinCaliforniainordertoprotectthesmelt.Atthecloseofthetrialcourtproceedings,JudgeWangerfoundthatthetestimonyofthegovernment’sexpertslackedcredibility.36ToJudgeWanger,thoseexpertsweredrivenbyapolicygoaltorestrictexports,regardlessofwhatthescientificdatashowed.JudgeWangerexpectedbetterfromthegovernment:

I’mgoingtobemakingafindinginthiscaseofagencybadfaith.Thereissimplynojustification.Therecanbenoacceptance by a Court of the United

 

 

36    DeltaSmeltCases,BenchRulingonMotiontoStayPendingAppeal(Sept.16,2011),dkt.no.1056,availableathttp://plf.typepad.com/files/9-16-11-motion-to-stay-final-1.pdf

 

 

Statesoftheconductthathasbeenengagedininthiscasebythesewitnesses.

And I am going to make a very clear andexplicitrecordtosupportthatfindingofagencybadfaithbecause,candidly,theonlyinferencethattheCourtcandrawisthatitisanattempttomisleadandtodeceivetheCourtintoacceptingwhatisnotonlynotthebestscience,it’snotscience.37

JudgeWangerstressedthatthegovernmenthas a “duty” to use good science in its decisions:

[T]heUnitedStates,asasovereign,hasadutynotonlyindealingwiththeCourt,butindealingwiththepublictoalwaysspeak thetruth,whether itisgoodorbad.It’sneveraboutwinningorlosing,it’s always about doing justice.38

JudgeWangersawpasttheagency’spolicygoalsandtheflawedtestimonyofitsscientistsandruledthatthesciencedidnotsupporttheproposednewrestrictions,showingtheextremeimportanceofthe court’s role in scientific integrity.

Inthepresentcase,however,thepanelthrewupitshandsatthescience.Itproclaimedthatit lackedjurisdictiontoreviewpetitioners’claimsthatSecretarySalazar’sdecisionwasanabuseofdiscretionbecauseitwasbased,inpart,onfalsescience.PetitionforCertiorariat11-12.Andit createdaruleof“harmlesserror”inwhichagencies

 

 

37Id.at17:15-25.

38Id.at33:18-22.

 

 

canavoidresponsibilityforscientificmisconductsimplybyassertingthattheirdecisionsarenotbasedon flawed data. Id.at 32-33.

Thepanel’sdecision,ifallowedtostand,createsadangerous precedent.Ifcourtslack jurisdictiontoreviewclaimsthatagencydecisionsarebasedonscientificmisconduct,andifcourtsare requiredtoforgivescientificmisconductwheneveranagencymakesassurancesthatthemisconductwasimmaterial,thenagenciesarelikelytofeelless constrainedaboutfalsifyingscientificinformationtothecourtsandthepublic.Thisdecisionislikelytoresultinmorescientificmisconductingovernmentdecisions,and thus undermine our democracy.

TheSupremeCourtshouldtakethiscaseto makeclearthatthecourtscan,andshould,remedyscientificmisconduct.SeeGeneralElectric,Inc.v.Joiner,522U.S.136,146(1997)(courtscanrejectscientificclaimswhen“thereissimplytoogreatananalyticalgapbetweenthedataandtheopinionproffered”).Scientificmisconductisnotqualitativelydifferentfromthekindsofissuescourtshavenotroubleadjudicatinginothercaseseveryday.Ineventhemostcomplexbreachofcontractcases,forexample,courtsareroutinelyaskedtodetermine whetherapartyhasmadeamaterialmisrepresentationofthefacts.Inanalyzingthesetypesofclaims,courtscananddocomparetheunderlyingfactsagainsttherepresentationtoassesswhether they are consistent.

Thescientificmisconductclaimhereisreallynodifferent.ThefactsarethattheinternalanalysisbytheParkServiceanditsoutsideexpertwasthat thereisnoevidencethattheoysterfarmdisturbsharborseals.SeePartI.Aabove.Andyettherepresentation in the EIS, relied upon by the

 

 

Secretaryinmakinghisdecision,wasthattheoysterfarmcausessignificantadverseimpactstoharborseals.Thiswasnotacase wherethecourtwasaskedtochoosebetweenconflictingexpertopinions.Itisnotaboutunreliabledataorharmlesserrors.Thereisnothing“harmless”aboutaneight-yearpatternofParkServicemisrepresentationsaboutahistoricfamilyfarm.Thisisacasewheretheagencysimply falsifiedthescience,andthepanelshouldnothaverefusedto say so.

 

CONCLUSION

The petitionshould be granted.

 

Respectfully submitted,PETERS.PROWS

Counsel of Record

BRISCOEIVESTER&BAZELLLP

155 SansomeStreet,

Seventh Floor

San Francisco, CA 94104(415) 402-2700

pprows@briscoelaw.net

05-19-14 25 “Friends” File 4 Briefs Supporting DBOC effort to have Supreme Court hear its case

Twenty-Five “Friends” File Supreme Court Briefs Supporting

Drakes Bay Oyster Company

Farmers, Environmentalists, Scientists, Chefs, and Preservationists All Support Historic Oyster Farm

 

INVERNESS, CALIF. — Twenty-five “friends” of Drakes Bay Oyster Company have filed four significant amicus briefs in support of the farm’s efforts to have the U.S. Supreme Court hear its case. Together, the briefs make compelling arguments for why the Supreme Court should take the case.

 

At stake is whether the government, in making countless everyday decisions, can be taken to court when it abuses its power, misinterprets the law, or misrepresents science. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that a federal court does not have jurisdiction to review a discretionary agency decision for abuse of discretion. Drakes Bay Oyster Company petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court on April 14, 2014 for a writ of certiorari to review that judgment.

 

Elder environmentalists and agriculturalists support aquaculture

 

Former California Assemblyman William T. Bagley and former Congressman Paul Norton “Pete” McCloskey (co-author of the Endangered Species Act and co-chair of the first Earth Day) are among the elder environmentalists supporting the oyster farm’s petition. Also joining the brief are Patricia Unterman, chef-owner of Hayes Street Grill in San Francisco; chefs and owners of many of West Marin’s farm-to-table restaurants; and a host of agriculturalists and agriculture associations. The brief argues the importance of aquaculture and agriculture in the San Francisco North Bay, and for the support and development of innovative, ecologically sound and sustainable agriculture practices consistent with the purposes of the National Environmental Policy Act [NEPA].

 

Rural communities dependent on fair federal permitting

 

In its amicus brief, the Pacific Legal Foundation and California Cattlemen’s Association point out that roughly half of the land in the western United States is federally owned, and that grazing is one of the largest uses of federal lands. Together the Ninth and Tenth Federal Circuit courts each govern about half of all federal grazing permits, yet the two circuits are not aligned on fundamental questions of law relating to renewal of grazing permits, including the application of NEPA, and judicial review under the Administration Procedure Act [APA]. The brief argues that the high court should take Drakes Bay’s case in order to resolve this issue, since “a very large number of rural communities are dependent on federally permitted grazing for employment, commerce, and tax revenue to support public services.”

 

Scientific misconduct undermines our democracy

 

Two preeminent scientists, Dr. Corey Goodman (elected member, National Academy of Sciences) and Dr. Paul Houser (former Scientific Integrity Officer, Bureau of Reclamation, Department of the Interior, and Professor, George Mason University), filed a brief to argue that the Supreme Court should take this case as an opportunity to make clear that courts have an important role in ensuring scientific integrity in government. When he came into office, President Obama made clear that “to undermine scientific integrity is to undermine our democracy.” Yet for Drakes Bay Oyster Company, and too many other cases, the government has falsified and abused science to further predetermined ideological agendas. The Ninth Circuit held that a federal court does not have jurisdiction to reject false science, whereas the Supreme Court has historically held that they do. This brief asks the Supreme Court to reaffirm their commitment to the integrity of science both in government decision-making and as presented to federal courts.

 

Ninth Circuit decision endangers historic resources

 

The Monte Wolfe Foundation argues that the Ninth Circuit’s ruling hampers the protection of historic and cultural resources, writing: “the ruling of the Ninth Circuit, that no NEPA review is needed where agency action seeks to restore a pristine state of nature, appears unique to the Ninth Circuit. It means that historic resources on Ninth Circuit federal wildlands are endangered because they cannot depend on NEPA for protection. Absent other protection, they may be – indeed, given [the Ninth Circuit decision] Drakes Bay Oyster’s reading of the intent of NEPA, should be – summarily removed.”

 

Oyster farm remains open for now

 

At issue is former Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar’s denial of Drakes Bay’s permit to continue operating the 80-year-old oyster farm, even though the original deal for the creation of Point Reyes National Seashore was that the oyster farm was always supposed to stay. The Secretary’s decision was informed by a falsified environmental report. Because Drakes Bay showed that there is a “reasonable probability” that the Supreme Court will take this case and a “significant possibility” that the oyster farm will win, the Ninth Circuit has allowed Drakes Bay to remain open while it takes its case to the Supreme Court.

 

About Drakes Bay Oyster Company

The historic oyster farm in Drakes Estero, located in Point Reyes, Marin County, has been part of the community for nearly 100 years. The Lunnys, a fourth-generation Point Reyes ranching family, purchased the oyster farm in 2004. Modern environmentalists and proponents of sustainable agriculture praise Drakes Bay Oyster as a superb example of how people can produce high-quality food in harmony with the environment. The farm produces approximately one third of all oysters grown in California, and employs 30 members of the community. The Lunnys also contribute the oyster shells that make possible the restoration of native oysters in San Francisco Bay and the oyster shells used to create habitat for the endangered Snowy Plover and Least Tern. As the last oyster cannery in California, Drakes Bay is the only local (and thus the only safe and affordable) source of these shells. The Lunny family is proud of its contributions to a sustainable food model that conserves and maintains the productivity of the local landscapes and the health of its inhabitants. For more information, please visit www.drakesbayoyster.com and www.savedrakesbay.com

For Immediate Release

May 19, 2014

Contacts: Tina Walker

Office: 415.227.9700

Cell: 650.248.1037

Email: tina@singersf.com

 

Peter Prows

Counsel for Drakes Bay Oyster

Email: pprows@briscoelaw.net

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

Circuit court denies EAC appeal

05/01/2014

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.

09-03-2013 Judge Watford’s Dissenting Opinion on the Appeal to the 9th Circuit

“The government will suffer only modest harm if oyster
farming’s eighty-year history in the Estero continues a bit
longer.

But if a preliminary injunction is erroneously denied,
Drakes Bay’s business will be destroyed.

That is all Drakes Bay must show to demonstrate that the balance of equities
tips in its favor here.”

 

Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Northern District of California
Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, District Judge, Presiding
Argued and Submitted
May 14, 2013—San Francisco, California
Filed September 3, 2013
Amended January 14, 2014

 

page 38 CO. V. JEWELL
WATFORD, Circuit Judge, dissenting:
The majority states that, by enacting § 124, “Congress did
nothing more than let the Secretary know his hands were not
tied.” Maj. op. at 24. I think Congress, by including the
“notwithstanding” clause in § 124, intended to do more than
that. In particular, it sought to override the Department of the
Interior’s misinterpretation of the Point Reyes Wilderness
Act, Pub. L. No. 94-544, 90 Stat. 2515 (1976).
The Department had concluded, in 2005, that the Act
barred issuance of a special use permit authorizing continued
operation of Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s oyster farm. The
Department thought Congress had “mandated” that result by
designating Drakes Estero, where the oyster farm is located,
as a “potential wilderness addition” in the Point Reyes
Wilderness Act. The Act’s legislative history makes clear,
however, that by divining such a mandate, the Department
simply misinterpreted the Act’s provisions and misconstrued
Congress’s intent. The Department’s misinterpretation of the
Point Reyes Wilderness Act prompted Congress to enact
§ 124 in 2009. In my view, by including a notwithstanding
clause in § 124, Congress attempted to supersede the
Department’s erroneous interpretation of the Act.
In the 2012 decision challenged here, the Secretary
nonetheless denied Drakes Bay’s permit request based
primarily on the very same misinterpretation of the Point
Reyes Wilderness Act that Congress thought it had
overridden. As a result, I think Drakes Bay is likely to
prevail on its claim that the Secretary’s decision is arbitrary,
capricious, or otherwise not in accordance with law. See
5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A). Because the other preliminary
injunction factors also weigh in Drakes Bay’s favor,
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DRAKES BAY OYSTER CO. V. JEWELL 39
injunctive relief preserving the status quo should have been
granted here.
I
To explain why I think the Interior Department (and later
the Secretary) misinterpreted the Point Reyes Wilderness Act,
a fairly detailed discussion of the Act’s legislative history is
necessary.
The events leading up to passage of the Point Reyes
Wilderness Act begin in 1962, when Congress authorized
creation of the Point Reyes National Seashore and
appropriated funds for land acquisition within the Seashore’s
designated boundaries. Act of Sept. 13, 1962, Pub. L. No.
87-657, 76 Stat. 538 (1962). As part of that process, in 1965,
the State of California conveyed ownership of the submerged
lands and coastal tidelands within the Seashore’s boundaries
to the federal government. See Act of July 9, 1965, ch. 983,
§ 1, 1965 Cal. Stat. 2604, 2604. Those lands included Drakes
Estero. The conveyance reserved certain mineral and fishing
rights, which allowed the State to “prospect for, mine, and
remove [mineral] deposits from the lands,” and “reserved to
the people of the state the right to fish in the waters
underlying the lands.” Id. §§ 2–3, 1965 Cal. Stat. at 2605. At
the time of the State’s conveyance, oyster farming was
already a well-established fixture in Drakes Estero, with roots
dating back to the 1930s.
In 1973, the President recommended that Congress
preserve 10,600 acres within the Point Reyes National
Seashore as “wilderness,” under the terms of the Wilderness
Act of 1964, Pub. L. No. 88-577, § 3(c), 78 Stat. 890, 892
(1964). Members of California’s congressional delegation
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DRAKES BAY OYSTER 40 CO. V. JEWELL
found that recommendation woefully inadequate, and soon
thereafter introduced identical bills in the House and Senate
designating far larger areas of the Seashore as wilderness. In
the House, Congressman John Burton introduced H.R. 8002,
94th Cong. (1975); in the Senate, Senator John Tunney
introduced S. 2472, 94th Cong. (1975). H.R. 8002 is the bill
that eventually became the Point Reyes Wilderness Act.
As originally proposed, H.R. 8002 and S. 2472 would
have designated more than thirty-eight thousand acres as
wilderness. Included within that designation was Drakes
Estero, as well as most of the other submerged lands and
coastal tidelands conveyed by California in 1965. The
sponsors of H.R. 8002 and S. 2472 were well aware of the
oyster farm in Drakes Estero. They nonetheless included
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 aquacultural uses can continue.” Wilderness
Additions—National Park System: Hearings Before the
Subcomm. on Parks and Recreation of the S. Comm. on
Interior and Insular Affairs, 94th Cong. 271 (1976)
[hereinafter Senate Hearing].
During hearings on H.R. 8002 and S. 2472, various civic,
environmental, and conservation groups supported Drakes
Estero’s designation as wilderness. They explained in detail
why neither the State’s reserved mineral and fishing rights
nor the oyster farm precluded such a designation. No one
advocating Drakes Estero’s designation as wilderness
suggested that the oyster farm needed to be removed before
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DRAKES BAY OYSTER CO. V. JEWELL 41
the area could become wilderness. See id. at 324–33,
344–61; H.R. 7198, H.R. 8002, et al., To Designate Certain
Lands in the Point Reyes National Seashore, California as
Wilderness: Hearing Before Subcomm. on Nat’l Parks and
Recreation of the H. Comm. on Interior and Insular Affairs,
94th Cong. (1976) [hereinafter House Hearing], prepared
statements of Jim Eaton, William J. Duddleson, Ms. Raye-
Page, and Frank C. Boerger.
The comments Congress received from those who were
advocating Drakes Estero’s designation as wilderness stressed
a common theme: that the oyster farm was a beneficial preexisting
use that should be allowed to continue
notwithstanding the area’s designation as wilderness. For
example, a representative from the Wilderness Society stated:
“Within Drakes Estero the oyster culture activity, which is
under lease, has a minimal environmental and visual
intrusion. Its continuation is permissible as a pre-existing
non-conforming use and is not a deterrent for inclusion of the
federally owned submerged lands of the Estero in
wilderness.” House Hearing, prepared statement of Ms.
Raye-Page, at 6. The Chairman of the Golden Gate National
Recreation Area Citizens’ Advisory Commission noted that
the oyster-farming operations “presently carried on within the
seashore existed prior to its establishment as a park and have
since been considered desirable by both the public and park
managers.” Senate Hearing, at 361. He therefore
recommended that specific provision be made to allow such
operations “to continue unrestrained by wilderness
designation.” Id. Others observed, echoing the comments of
Senator Tunney, that the proposed House and Senate bills
already provided for that. See House Hearing, prepared
statement of William J. Duddleson, at 3–4 (“H.R. 8002 would
allow continued use and operation of Johnson’s Oyster
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DRAKES BAY OYSTER 42 CO. V. JEWELL
Company at Drakes Estero, as a pre-existing non-conforming
use.”); Senate Hearing, at 357 (“S. 2472 would allow the
continued use and operation of Johnson’s Oyster Company in
Drakes Estero.”). A local state assemblyman succinctly
summed it up this way: “Finally, I believe everyone
concerned supports the continued operation of oyster farming
in Drakes Estero as a non-conforming use.” Senate Hearing,
at 356.
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. The Act generally bans commercial
enterprise within wilderness areas, but does so “subject to
existing private rights.” 16 U.S.C. § 1133(c). Drakes Bay’s
predecessor, the Johnson Oyster Company, had existing
private rights in the form of water-bottom leases issued by
California that pre-dated both the passage of the Wilderness
Act and creation of the Point Reyes National Seashore. The
Act also generally prohibits the use of motorboats within
wilderness areas, see id., but the Secretary of Agriculture may
permit continued use of motorboats when, as here, such use
has “already become established.” Id. § 1133(d)(1). To the
extent there is any ambiguity in these provisions, the Act’s
legislative history makes clear that Congress believed the new
wilderness-preservation system would not affect the
economic arrangements of business enterprises “because
existing private rights and established uses are permitted to
continue.” S. Rep. No. 88-109, at 2 (1963).
The only party opposed to designating Drakes Estero as
wilderness was the Department of the Interior. At first, the
Department took the position that none of the submerged
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DRAKES BAY OYSTER CO. V. JEWELL 43
lands and coastal tidelands conveyed by California in 1965
could be designated as wilderness, because the State’s
reserved mineral and fishing rights were “inconsistent with
wilderness.” House Hearing, letter from John Kyl, Assistant
Secretary of the Interior, at 3. When the Department’s view
came under attack by those who argued that the State’s
reserved rights were not in any way inconsistent with
wilderness, see, e.g., Senate Hearing, at 327–28, the
Department backpedaled. It proposed placing most of the
lands subject to the State’s reserved rights into a new
legislative classification—“potential wilderness addition”—
which it had developed in connection with similar wilderness
proposals. See House Hearing, at 11–12; id., letter from John
Kyl, Assistant Secretary of the Interior, at 1. That
designation was intended to encompass “lands which are
essentially of wilderness character, but retain sufficient nonconforming
structures, activities, uses or private rights so as
to preclude immediate wilderness classification.” S. Rep. No.
94-1357, at 3 (1976).
Four areas subject to the State’s reserved rights were at
issue: the coastal tidelands, Limantour Estero, Abbotts
Lagoon, and Drakes Estero. The original version of H.R.
8002 designated all four areas as wilderness, not just potential
wilderness additions. But in the spirit of compromise,
Congressman Burton, the sponsor of H.R. 8002, agreed to
amend the bill by designating those areas as potential
wilderness additions, rather than as wilderness. See House
Hearing, prepared statement of Rep. John Burton, at 2. In
doing so, he made clear that all four areas were being
designated as potential wilderness additions due to
California’s reserved mineral and fishing rights. See id. He
noted that, “[a]s ‘potential wilderness,’ these areas would be
designated as wilderness effective when the State ceeds [sic]
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DRAKES BAY OYSTER 44 CO. V. JEWELL
these rights to the United States.” Id. (emphasis added). As
so amended, H.R. 8002 was enacted as the Point Reyes
Wilderness Act in 1976.
Fast forward now to 2005. Shortly before Drakes Bay’s
purchase of the oyster farm closed, the Park Service reiterated
its view that, based on a legal analysis performed by the
Interior Department, no new permits authorizing oyster
farming in Drakes Estero could be issued. The Department’s
legal analysis concluded—bizarrely, given the legislative
history recounted above—that by designating Drakes Estero
as a potential wilderness addition in the Point Reyes
Wilderness Act, Congress had “mandated” elimination of the
oyster farm. The Department never identified anything in the
text of the Act to support that view; it cited only a passage
from the House Report accompanying H.R. 8002. But that
passage “is in no way anchored in the text of the statute,”
Shannon v. United States, 512 U.S. 573, 583–84 (1994), and
thus provides no support for the Department’s interpretation
of the Act.
Even taken on its own terms, however, the passage from
the House Report does not support the Department’s
interpretation. The passage states in full: “As is well
established, it is the intention that those lands and waters
designated as potential wilderness additions will be
essentially managed as wilderness, to the extent possible, with
efforts to steadily continue to remove all obstacles to the
eventual conversion of these lands and waters to wilderness
status.” H.R. Rep. No. 94-1680, at 3 (1976) (emphasis
added). But the oyster farm was not an “obstacle” to Drakes
Estero’s conversion to wilderness status, and no one in
Congress ever expressed that view. To the contrary, as
discussed above, all indications are that Congress viewed the
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DRAKES BAY OYSTER CO. V. JEWELL 45
oyster farm as a beneficial, pre-existing use whose
continuation was fully compatible with wilderness status.
II
With that background in mind, we can now turn to the
legal issue at the heart of this appeal, which is how to
construe § 124.
Everyone appears to agree that the Park Service’s
conclusion in 2005 that it was legally prohibited from
granting Drakes Bay a special use permit prompted Congress
to enact § 124. If all Congress had wanted to do was “let the
Secretary know his hands were not tied,” as the majority
asserts, § 124 could simply have stated, as it does, that “the
Secretary of the Interior is authorized to issue a special use
permit . . . .” Act of Oct. 30, 2009, Pub. L. No. 111-88,
§ 124, 123 Stat. 2904, 2932. But Congress went further and
added a notwithstanding clause, so that the statute as enacted
reads, “notwithstanding any other provision of law, the
Secretary of the Interior is authorized to issue a special use
permit . . . .” Id. (emphasis added). Our task is to determine
what effect Congress intended the notwithstanding clause to
have.
Given the historical backdrop against which § 124 was
enacted, I think Congress intended the clause to override the
Interior Department’s misinterpretation of the Point Reyes
Wilderness Act. Reading the clause in that fashion is
consistent with the way courts have typically construed
notwithstanding clauses. The Supreme Court has held that
the use of such a clause “clearly signals the drafter’s intention
that the provisions of the ‘notwithstanding’ section override
conflicting provisions of any other section.” Cisneros v.
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DRAKES BAY OYSTER 46 CO. V. JEWELL
Alpine Ridge Grp., 508 U.S. 10, 18 (1993). And we have said
that the basic function of such clauses is to “sweep aside” and
“supersede” any potentially conflicting laws. United States
v. Novak, 476 F.3d 1041, 1046 (9th Cir. 2007) (en banc);
Student Loan Fund of Idaho, Inc. v. U.S. Dep’t of Educ.,
272 F.3d 1155, 1166 (9th Cir. 2001). A notwithstanding
clause often targets those laws that were the “legal sticking
point” for the action Congress intends to authorize.
Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Fla. v. U.S. Army Corps of
Eng’rs, 619 F.3d 1289, 1301 n.19 (11th Cir. 2010).
In this case, no conflicting laws actually prevented the
Secretary from issuing a permit to Drakes Bay. Continued
operation of the oyster farm is fully consistent with the
Wilderness Act, and the farm’s existence is therefore not an
“obstacle” to converting Drakes Estero to wilderness status as
directed by the Point Reyes Wilderness Act. Instead, it was
the Interior Department’s misinterpretation of the Point
Reyes Wilderness Act that proved to be the “legal sticking
point” here. I think the best reading of the notwithstanding
clause is that Congress meant to “override” (“sweep aside,”
“supersede”) that misinterpretation of the law when it enacted
§ 124. Alpine Ridge Grp., 508 U.S. at 18; Novak, 476 F.3d at
1046; Student Loan Fund, 272 F.3d at 1166.
If you accept what I have said so far, only two questions
remain. The first is whether Congress, having overridden the
Department’s misinterpretation of the Point Reyes
Wilderness Act, nonetheless authorized the Secretary to rely
on that misinterpretation as a basis for denying Drakes Bay a
permit. I cannot see any reason why we would construe
§ 124 in that fashion. Under the Administrative Procedure
Act (APA), if an agency bases its decision on a legally
erroneous interpretation of the controlling statute, its decision
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DRAKES BAY OYSTER CO. V. JEWELL 47
will be deemed arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise not in
accordance with law. See Safe Air for Everyone v. EPA,
488 F.3d 1088, 1091, 1101 (9th Cir. 2007) (involving an
erroneous interpretation of a state implementation plan that
had the force and effect of federal law). Thus, even without
the notwithstanding clause, it would make no sense to assume
that Congress authorized the Secretary to base his decision on
a misinterpretation of the Point Reyes Wilderness Act. With
the clause, adopting any such construction of § 124 would be
entirely indefensible.
The second (and admittedly closer) question is whether
the Secretary in fact based his decision on the
misinterpretation of the Act that Congress intended to
override by enacting § 124. The majority suggests that the
Secretary based his decision instead on the Interior
Department’s own policies, see Maj. op. at 20 & n.5, 27–28
n.8, but I do not think the Secretary’s written decision
denying the permit supports that view. The Secretary’s
decision states that he gave “great weight” to what he called
“the public policy inherent in the 1976 act of Congress that
identified Drakes Estero as potential wilderness.” The
Secretary read that Act as expressing Congress’s intention
that all “obstacles” to converting Drakes Estero to wilderness
status should be removed. But he erroneously deemed the
oyster farm to be such an obstacle (“DBOC’s commercial
operations are the only use preventing the conversion of
Drakes Estero to designated wilderness”), because he
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.
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DRAKES BAY OYSTER 48 CO. V. JEWELL
These are precisely the same errors of statutory
interpretation the Interior Department made back in 2005.
They are precisely the same errors that prompted Congress to
enact § 124 in the first place. And, in my view, they are
precisely the same errors Congress attempted to supersede by
inserting the notwithstanding clause. 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. See Maj. op. at 27–28 n.8.
What does the majority offer in response to this analysis?
Some hand waving, to be sure, but nothing of any substance.
Most tellingly, the majority never attempts to argue that the
Interior Department’s interpretation of the Point Reyes
Wilderness Act was correct. Nor could it make that
argument with a straight face given the Act’s clear legislative
history, which the majority never attempts to address, much
less refute. The majority thus has no explanation for
Congress’s inclusion of the notwithstanding clause in § 124
other than the one I have offered: that it was included to
override the Department’s misinterpretation of the Point
Reyes Wilderness Act. The majority claims that the clause
“has a clear function—to convey that prior legislation should
not be deemed a legal barrier” to permit issuance. See Maj.
op. at 20. But that reading of the clause supports my position
because the Secretary did treat “prior legislation”—namely,
the Point Reyes Wilderness Act—as a “legal barrier” to
permit issuance. As I have argued, that is exactly what the
notwithstanding clause was intended to prohibit.
The majority also claims that I have not accorded the
Secretary’s decision the deference it is owed under the
arbitrary and capricious standard, which requires us to give
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DRAKES BAY OYSTER CO. V. JEWELL 49
due regard to an agency’s exercise of discretion within its
sphere of expertise. See Maj. op. at 27–28 n.8. But I am not
arguing here that the Secretary’s decision must be set aside
because it reflects faulty weighing of permissible policy
factors. We would have no authority to second guess a
decision of that order. What I am saying, instead, is that
§ 124’s notwithstanding clause precluded the Secretary from
basing his decision on the very misinterpretation of the Point
Reyes Wilderness Act that Congress intended to override. A
decision will normally be deemed arbitrary and capricious if
an agency “has relied on factors which Congress has not
intended it to consider.” Motor Vehicle Mfrs. Ass’n v. State
Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 463 U.S. 29, 43 (1983). That,
unfortunately, is just what the Secretary did.
In short, I would hold that Drakes Bay is likely to prevail
on the merits of its APA claim. The Secretary’s
misinterpretation of the Point Reyes Wilderness Act, and his
mistaken view that denying the permit request effectuated
Congress’s intent, were “fundamental” to his decision,
rendering the decision “arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise not
in accordance with law.” Safe Air for Everyone, 488 F.3d at
1101 (internal quotation marks omitted).
III
Like the majority, I will not spend much time addressing
the remaining preliminary injunction factors—irreparable
harm, balance of the equities, and the public interest. See
Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20
(2008). Considered together, those factors tip in Drakes
Bay’s favor.
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DRAKES BAY OYSTER 50 CO. V. JEWELL
Drakes Bay will suffer irreparable injury to its business
and real-property rights if a preliminary injunction is
erroneously denied. See, e.g., Sundance Land Corp. v. Cmty.
First Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass’n, 840 F.2d 653, 661 (9th Cir.
1988); Am. Passage Media Corp. v. Cass Commc’ns, Inc.,
750 F.2d 1470, 1474 (9th Cir. 1985). The loss of “an ongoing
business representing many years of effort and the livelihood
of its [owners] constitutes irreparable harm.” Roso-Lino
Beverage Distribs., Inc. v. Coca-Cola Bottling Co., 749 F.2d
124, 125–26 (2d Cir. 1984) (per curiam).
The balance of equities favors Drakes Bay. The majority
concludes otherwise by noting that Drakes Bay knew when it
acquired the oyster farm that its permit would expire in 2012.
Maj. op. at 37. But that is not the relevant consideration.
Rather, the controlling consideration is that the harm Drakes
Bay will suffer from the erroneous denial of a preliminary
injunction far outweighs the harm the government will suffer
from an erroneous grant of such relief. See Alliance for the
Wild Rockies v. Cottrell, 632 F.3d 1127, 1137–38 (9th Cir.
2011); Scotts Co. v. United Indus. Corp., 315 F.3d 264, 284
(4th Cir. 2002); Am. Hosp. Supply Corp. v. Hosp. Prods. Ltd.,
780 F.2d 589, 593 (7th Cir. 1986); Roso-Lino, 749 F.2d at
126. The government will suffer only modest harm if oyster
farming’s eighty-year history in the Estero continues a bit
longer. But if a preliminary injunction is erroneously denied,
Drakes Bay’s business will be destroyed. That is all Drakes
Bay must show to demonstrate that the balance of equities
tips in its favor here.
Finally, the public interest favors neither side. As the
district court observed, federal judges are ill equipped to
weigh the adverse environmental consequences of denying a
preliminary injunction against the consequences of granting
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DRAKES BAY OYSTER CO. V. JEWELL 51
such relief, or the relative interests in access to Drakes Bay’s
oysters as opposed to unencumbered wilderness. It is the
equities that carry the day in this case, see Nken v. Holder,
556 U.S. 418, 435 (2009) (when the United States is a party,
equities and the public interest merge), and the equities
strongly favor Drakes Bay.

 

For the entire amended opinion 13-15227_order_amended_opinion

04-16-14 Marin Superior Court Judge Chernus says “will take it under advisement” at end of hearing

04-16-14 Judge Chernus listened attentively to arguments from both sides, took notes, and at the end of the hearing stated “You’ve given us a lot to think about. I will take it under advisement and get back to you.”

His honor did not specify a date by which he will let us know his decision. Nevertheless, the attorneys are speculating the final ruling may be out within the next three weeks. The ruling could come as early as tomorrow yet on the other hand, it doesn’t have to be out for months from now.

04-15-14 Judge Ruled Ca. Coastal Comm. Violated Environmental Law & Abused its Discretion

04-15-14

Marin Superior Court, Judge Chernus,

issued his temporary ruling today stating the

California Coastal Commission violated environmental law

by not conducting an environmental review, and

abused its discretion by excluding Drakes Bay Oyster Farm evidence.

 

Racks and buildings need not be removed.

Didemnum measures struck down.

Existing Manila clams can stay.

 

To read the ruling, please click on the link below.

tentative 15 apr 2014

This is a tentative ruling.

All parties will appear in Marin County Superior Court, Department B, tomorrow morning, 04-16-14 at 8:30 AM to present arguments.

 

04-14-14 Attorney asks: “Are federal agencies immune from judicial review of their decisions?”

Drakes Bay Oyster Company seeks review in US Supreme Court

Today, Drakes Bay Oyster Company filed its petition for certiorari in the United States Supreme Court, after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decided that the federal government’s decision to shut down the oyster farm is immune from judicial review.

The petition raises a fundamental question that strikes at the heart of the administrative state: exactly how often are federal agencies immune from judicial review of their decisions?  The Administrative Procedure Act authorizes review in federal courts of federal agency decisions when they are arbitrary, capricious, abusive of the agency’s discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.  But many courts across the nation have held that they have no jurisdiction to review agency decisions unless Congress specifically provides statutory guidelines for the exercise of agency discretion.  This legal perspective boils down to the proposition that Congress can (and frequently does) delegate unlimited power to executive agencies to make permitting and other regulatory decisions for any reason or no reason, subject to no substantive or even procedural safeguards for citizens and their liberty and property.

Fortunately, many other federal courts have ruled the opposite: that courts can and must review whether discretionary agency actions are arbitrary, capricious, abusive, or otherwise contrary to law.  The oyster farm’s petition to the Supreme Court clearly identifies the scope of this ongoing conflict within the federal courts of appeals, making this a very good opportunity for the Supreme Court to resolve this fundamental question of executive accountability and availability of judicial review.

You can learn more about the oyster farm’s fight for justice from our video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4j2Om3W-Ofo

 

Or listen to our January 15 podcast.

04-14-14 Drakes Bay Oyster Files Petition for Writ of Certiorari in U.S. Supreme Court

April 14, 2014

 Contacts: Tina Walker

Office: 415.227.9700

Cell: 650.248.1037

Email: tina@singersf.com

 

Peter Prows

Counsel for Drakes Bay Oyster

Email: pprows@briscoelaw.net

 

 

 Drakes Bay Oyster Files Petition for Writ of Certiorari in U.S. Supreme Court

Petition asks high court to review Ninth Circuit decision


INVERNESS, CALIF. — Drakes Bay Oyster Company has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari to review the judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in its case.

 

At issue is former Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar’s denial of Drakes Bay’s permit to continue operating the 80-year-old oyster farm, even though the original deal for the creation of Point Reyes National Seashore—supported by the Park Service, the Sierra Club, the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin, and every other interested environmental and civic group—was that the oyster farm was always supposed to stay.  The Ninth Circuit held that a federal court does not have jurisdiction to review a discretionary agency decision for abuse of discretion.  At stake is whether the government, in making countless everyday decisions, can be taken to court when it abuses its power.

 

“If this judgment is not overturned, government agencies will have the power to deny a permit to any individual or business for any reason, without judicial review,” said Kevin Lunny, owner of Drakes Bay Oyster Company.  “Citizens must have recourse in the face of an arbitrary and capricious decision.”

 

The small, family-owned farm has been in a heated legal battle with federal regulators for its survival.  Because Drakes Bay showed that there is a “reasonable probability” that the Supreme Court will take this case and a “significant possibility” that the oyster farm will win, the Ninth Circuit has allowed Drakes Bay to remain open while it takes its case to the Supreme Court.

 

One reason the Supreme Court might want to hear the case is to resolve fifteen circuit splits on three issues—that is, issues on which two or more circuits in the U.S. court of appeals system have given different interpretations of federal law. The splits in this case are on important issues:  jurisdiction to review agency actions for abuse of discretion, applicability of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and prejudicial error under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Read the Petition for Writ of Certiorarihere.

 

About Drakes Bay Oyster Company

The historic oyster farm in Drakes Estero, located in Point Reyes, Marin County, has been part of the community for nearly 100 years. The Lunnys, a fourth-generation Point Reyes ranching family, purchased the oyster farm in 2004. Modern environmentalists and proponents of sustainable agriculture praise Drakes Bay Oyster as a superb example of how people can produce high-quality food in harmony with the environment. The farm produces approximately one third of all oysters grown in California, and employs 30 members of the community. The Lunnys also contribute the oyster shells that make possible the restoration of native oysters in San Francisco Bay and the oyster shells used to create habitat for the endangered Snowy Plover and Least Tern. As the last oyster cannery in California, Drakes Bay is the only local (and thus the only safe and affordable) source of these shells. The Lunny family is proud of its contributions to a sustainable food model that conserves and maintains the productivity of the local landscapes and the health of its inhabitants. For more information, please visit www.drakesbayoyster.com and www.savedrakesbay.com

 

04-14-14 US Supreme Court Cert Petition Press Release With Links

04-11-14 Capital Press: So-Called Friends of the environment endorsing government avoidance of environmental laws?

Feds try to pull the plug on Bay Area oyster farm

By Tony Francois

For the Capital Press Published: April 11, 2014 8:17AM

“The U.S. Supreme Court has an opportunity to do right by the environment, the economy, and the rule of law, by agreeing to review the federal government’s controversial decision to shut down Drakes Bay Oyster Co. in the Point Reyes National Seashore north of San Francisco.

Should unelected regulators be permitted to operate in a vacuum, essentially as a law unto themselves, so their decisions are shielded from meaningful review by the courts, even when environmental quality could be compromised?

Friends of the environment don’t usually endorse government avoidance of environmental laws — especially “sunshine” mandates for openness.

A robust NEPA study would allow regulators and the public to know the full consequences of closing the oyster farm. 

Now, regulators are claiming they didn’t have to do any analysis at all, let alone a comprehensive NEPA review, because they weren’t okaying a new land-use project, merely bringing an end to an existing one.

Surely that’s a distinction without a difference, because the environment can potentially be affected as much by closing down a facility or project as by starting one up. Still, the 9th Circuit panel … reasoned that regulators can excuse themselves from providing a NEPA analysis or reporting to the public, merely by asserting that their decision to alter an existing land use is “good for the environment.”

(emphasis added)

An appeal to the High Court is due to be filed soon by the Lunny family, owners of the 80-year-old oyster farm, after a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled against them in their fight for survival against the U.S. Interior Department. The U.S. Supreme Court has an opportunity to do right by the environment, the economy, and the rule of law, by agreeing to review the federal government’s controversial decision to shut down Drakes Bay Oyster Co. in the Point Reyes National Seashore north of San Francisco.

An appeal to the High Court is due to be filed soon by the Lunny family, owners of the 80-year-old oyster farm, after a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled against them in their fight for survival against the U.S. Interior Department.

Residents of Northern California and beyond know the oyster farm as a regional treasure. Forty percent of oysters harvested in California come from Drakes Bay. Of its 30 longtime employees, a number live at the site with their families. Drakes Bay’s farm is a major recreational and educational resource, drawing tens of thousands of visitors each year to learn about sustainable marine agriculture and sample rich nutritious marine products. The farm’s operations have been praised over the years for an ethic of environmental sensitivity and harmony.

But it’s not just the future of this Bay Area institution that’s on the line. The Lunnys’ lawsuit asks fundamental questions about accountability in government, especially in the area of environmental policy. Should unelected regulators be permitted to operate in a vacuum, essentially as a law unto themselves, so their decisions are shielded from meaningful review by the courts, even when environmental quality could be compromised?

One of the most important federal environmental statutes — the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA — is designed to foster accountability. When a federal action would affect the environment, NEPA says the impacts must be carefully studied and reported to the public.

But the National Park Service did not comply with NEPA when it decided against extending the decades-old lease that has allowed the oyster farm to serve as one of the country’s primary providers of this sustainable and healthy food source.

Yes, the feds did produce a partial, deceptive, and self-serving report. It was so sloppy that no self-respecting environmentalist would let it stand in any other context. Sen. Dianne Feinstein slammed it as “flawed … with false and misleading science.”

Now, regulators are claiming they didn’t have to do any analysis at all, let alone a comprehensive NEPA review, because they weren’t okaying a new land-use project, merely bringing an end to an existing one.

Surely that’s a distinction without a difference, because the environment can potentially be affected as much by closing down a facility or project as by starting one up. Still, the 9th Circuit panel — or at least the majority in the 2-1 decision — bought the government’s hair-splitting interpretation of NEPA. It reasoned that regulators can excuse themselves from providing a NEPA analysis or reporting to the public, merely by asserting that their decision to alter an existing land use is “good for the environment.”

The government’s stance in this dispute is sadly ironic. Drakes Bay oyster farm is integral to the agricultural heritage on which the National Seashore is founded, and for decades the feds partnered in preserving that heritage. Now, they’re furiously cutting corners as they abandon it.

Environmental organizations are also raising eyebrows by taking the government’s side. Friends of the environment don’t usually endorse government avoidance of environmental laws — especially “sunshine” mandates for openness.

A robust NEPA study would allow regulators and the public to know the full consequences of closing the oyster farm. For one thing, the underwater racks on which oysters are grown would have to be removed, requiring a barge-mounted generator and electric hoist that could disturb the sea bed and shoreline. Water quality could also permanently suffer from the loss of the shellfish that filter nitrogen and phosphorus from the estuary.

So now it’s up to the Supreme Court to decide whether NEPA will be enforced in a rigorous way. In supporting the Lunnys’ request that the court take the case, the property-rights-oriented Pacific Legal Foundation will argue in an amicus brief that agencies can’t exempt themselves from environmental review on their own say-so.

Transparency and honesty. That’s all that NEPA asks of bureaucrats, if correctly interpreted and applied. On matters such as the oyster farm’s future, the public deserves to know all the facts and implications, in the full light of day.

Tony Francois is an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation.

04-03-14 HUFFINGTON POST GOT IT WRONG, FILING IS ON APRIL 14, NOT THE DECISION TO HEAR THE CASE

SORRY TO ALL MY READERS. I TOOK THE INFORMATION DIRECTLY FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST ARTICLE.

I HAVE JUST HEARD FROM DBOC.

THEY WILL BE FILING THEIR PETITION ON APRIL 14, 2014 WITH THE US SUPREME COURT.

THE DECISION TO HEAR THE CASE COULD TAKE TWO MONTHS OR MANY MONTHS AFTER THE CASE IS FILED.

AGAIN, MY APOLOGIES.

03-04-14 REPLY IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR PEREMPTORY WRIT OF MANDATE

EXCERPTS FROM THE BRIEF:

 …. the “wholesale disqualification” of a party’s experts violates due process as a matter of law, ….

the exclusion of a “credible and substantial” expert report violates due process

…the Commission violated due process by its wholesale disqualification of Drakes Bay’s expert testimony, which included credible and substantial expert reports. [the commission] never mentions either of the cases, ….

The Commission thereby concedes the issue, and the motion. 

This due-process violation, alone, is enough to invalidate the Orders.

 the Commission violated due process by not allowing for cross-examination, and that the Commission’s decision was not supported by competent evidence. 

The California Coastal Commission responds with a series of small, mostly procedural arguments.  All are wrong.

In the quasi-judicial proceeding at issue, the Commission

  • did not act as an impartial judge
  • was too happy to embrace criticisms of the oyster farm,
  • was too hostile to any evidence that favored the farm,
  • was too quick to dismiss evidence that rebutted the staff report.
  • Its behavior demonstrated a desire to win at any cost, and no respect for the truth.

                             VII.     CONCLUSION

This Court should issue an order declaring the Orders invalid, and issue a writ of mandate.

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

03-04-14 Reply Brief ISO DBOC’s Motion for Peremptory Writ of Mandate

02-14-2014: Motion for PEREMPTORY WRIT OF MANDATE (Sup. Court Marin 9AM, 3-11-14)

Motion for Peremptory Writ of Mandate to be heard in the Superior Court of the County of Marin at

9 AM, March 11, 2014,

Department D-22, Honorable Mark A. Talamantes

EXCERPTS FROM THE INTRODUCTION as well as from THE CONCLUSION (Emphasis added)

Agency action must be invalidated when the accused does not receive a fair trial (or administrative hearing), or

when the agency’s decision is not supported by the evidence.

Drakes Bay did not get a fair trial for two reasons.

First, THE CALIFORNIA COASTAL COMMISSION REFUSED … TO CONSIDER … EXPERT OPINIONS, DECLARATIONS, AND DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE SUBMITTED BY DRAKES BAY

DUE PROCESS REQUIRES AN AGENCY TO CONSIDER EVIDENCE offered in a quasi-judicial hearing

the COMMISSION VOTED TO EXCLUDE THE EVIDENCE FROM THE RECORD.

As a matter of law, an accused does not receive a fair trial when the agency refuses to consider any of the expert testimony submitted in support of the accused


    Second, …THE COMMISSION … DID NOT ALLOW …

CROSS-EXAMINATION OF COMMISSION WITNESSES

…the decision turned on complex factual questions about whether the farm is environmentally beneficial, as established by the expert testimony submitted by Drakes Bay,

OR environmentally harmful, as asserted by THE THREE LAWYERS who made the staff presentation.

THE THREE LAWYERS made many assertions …, but …hid the truly relevant facts:

which staff conducted the investigation, what qualifications they had, what methods they used, whether they were concealing exculpatory evidence, what evidence they collected, and how they bridged the analytical gap from the raw data to the ultimate conclusions.

“Cross-examination is the greatest legal engine ever invented

for the discovery of truth.”

…. Here, because THE THREE LAWYERS did not disclose the facts,

CROSS EXAMINATION WAS ESSENTIAL TO THE SEARCH FOR TRUTH


The Commission’s findings, which were drafted by one of

THE THREE LAWYERS, are not supported by the evidence, because 

THE THREE LAWYERS PROVIDED NO EVIDENCE.

What lawyers say is not evidence.

Although the Commission’s report occasionally cites to studies from elsewhere,

these citations say nothing about Drakes Estero, where the oyster farm is located.

DRAKES BAY … SUBMITTED EXPERT TESTIMONY THAT RELIED ON LOCAL DATA AND STUDIES FROM DRAKES ESTERO. THIS EVIDENCE ESTABLISHED THAT THE OYSTER FARM DOES NO HARM, AND THAT IT PROVIDES AN ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFIT. 

THERE IS NO EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY.

…the Commission’s decision should be invalidated.

FROM THE CONCLUSION, PAGE 19, LINES 12-21:

…the Commission’s war … is full of sound and fury, but signifies nothing. The Commission has no evidence to support any of its findings of environmental harm. In fact, the only real evidence points to exactly the opposite conclusion: the environment in Drakes Estero is thriving and Drakes Bay causes no adverse effects.

The commission’s reckless accusations … show … it cannot be trusted to regulate an 80-year old farm that the Commission plainly does not understand.

v.            CONCLUSION

This motion should be granted and the Court should issue a peremptory writ of mandate invalidating the Orders.

For the complete legal document click on the link below:

2014-14-02Memorandum in Support of Motion for Peremptory Writ of Mandate

01-29-14 DBOC Sues Ca Coastal Commission for Coastal Act Violations

Drakes Bay Oyster Sues Coastal Commission for Coastal Act Violations

Coastal Act requires the protection of aquaculture

Complaint asks for injunctive relief, declaratory relief, and civil penalties


INVERNESS, CALIF. — Drakes Bay Oyster filed a cross-complaint today against the California Coastal Commission alleging that the Commission has violated its obligations under the Coastal Act to permit, protect, and promote aquaculture.
 
“The Coastal Commission has not acted in good faith and must be held accountable,” said Phyllis Faber, a Marin County environmental activist and biologist who was a founding member of the Commission. “Instead of working to protect the coast in keeping with its charter, the Commission has violated the law and abused its power. Drakes Bay Oyster is an environmentally-sound local business that is part of our local heritage—exactly the sort of coastal use that the Commission was formed to protect.”
 
The support of aquaculture is an important part of the Coastal Act, the law that established the Commission and governs its actions. The law recognizes that “existing developed uses” such as the 80-year old oyster farm are “essential to the economic and social well-being of the people of this state and especially to working persons employed within the coastal zone.”
 
The Commission has not only failed to fulfill its charter to protect and promote aquaculture, it has also  repudiated agreements it made with the oyster farm to process its permit once the Park Service made public its environmental review. That review was made public in November 2012, but the Commission has continued to withhold the permit.
 
Drakes Bay has submitted a complete permit application, paid all application fees, and submitted all information required by the Coastal Act. The operations Drakes Bay has proposed for permitting are consistent with all applicable Coastal Act policies.
 
The complaint sets out five counts on which the Commission is in violation of the Coastal Act, and asks for several types of relief, including a declaration that the Commission has violated the law, an injunction requiring the Commission to process the permit, and civil penalties.
 
The Coastal Commission case is separate from the oyster farm’s pursuit to appeal their eviction with the Supreme Court but is also ongoing and significant to their continuation as a local business and environmental partner to the area.
 
About Drakes Bay Oyster Company
The historic oyster farm in Drakes Estero, located in Point Reyes, Marin County, has been part of the community for nearly 100 years. The Lunnys, a fourth-generation Point Reyes ranching family, purchased the oyster farm in 2004. Modern environmentalists and proponents of sustainable agriculture praise Drakes Bay Oyster as a superb example of how people can produce high-quality food in harmony with the environment. The farm produces approximately one third of all oysters grown in California, and employs 30 members of the community. The Lunnys also contribute the oyster shells that make possible the restoration of native oysters in San Francisco Bay and the oyster shells used to create habitat for the endangered Snowy Plover and Least Tern. As the last oyster cannery in California, Drakes Bay is the only local (and thus the only safe and affordable) source of these shells. The Lunny family is proud of its contributions to a sustainable food model that conserves and maintains the productivity of the local landscapes and the health of its inhabitants. For more information, please visit www.drakesbayoyster.com.

 

1.29.14 DBOC’s Cross Complaint

01-27-2014 9th Circuit GRANTS DBOF right to remain open while appeal to US Supreme Court

Drakes Bay Oyster Will Remain Open Pending Supreme Court Petition

Ninth Circuit Grants Motion Based on Significant Possibility of Oyster Farm Win in High Court


INVERNESS, CALIF. — The Ninth Circuit has granted Drakes Bay Oyster’s motion to allow the historic oyster farm to remain open while its legal team petitions for the case to be heard in the U.S. Supreme Court.  The small, family-owned farm has been in a heated legal battle with federal regulators for its survival.

 

In granting the stay, the court had to find that there is a “reasonable probability” that the Supreme Court will take this case and a “significant possibility” that the oyster farm will win. 

 

“We are grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve our community while the high court considers our case,” said Kevin Lunny, owner of Drakes Bay Oyster Farm.

 

Observers of the closely watched case have expected the Supreme Court might want to hear the case in order to resolve three circuit splits—that is, issues on which two or more circuits in the U.S. court of appeals system have given different interpretations of federal law. The splits in this case are on important issues:  jurisdiction over agency actions, applicability of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and prejudicial error under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

 

The Ninth Circuit majority’s decision also presents a conflict with several decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court itself. In addition, Drakes Bay Oyster will suffer irreparable harm if the mandate is not stayed.

 

About Drakes Bay Oyster Company

The historic oyster farm in Drakes Estero, located in Point Reyes, Marin County, has been part of the community for nearly 100 years. The Lunnys, a fourth-generation Point Reyes ranching family, purchased the oyster farm in 2004. Modern environmentalists and proponents of sustainable agriculture praise Drakes Bay Oyster as a superb example of how people can produce high-quality food in harmony with the environment. The farm produces approximately one third of all oysters grown in California, and employs 30 members of the community. The Lunnys also contribute the oyster shells that make possible the restoration of native oysters in San Francisco Bay and the oyster shells used to create habitat for the endangered Snowy Plover and Least Tern. As the last oyster cannery in California, Drakes Bay is the only local (and thus the only safe and affordable) source of these shells. The Lunny family is proud of its contributions to a sustainable food model that conserves and maintains the productivity of the local landscapes and the health of its inhabitants. For more information, please visit www.drakesbayoyster.com.

 

order staying mandate

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

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