21 Aug 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by sanrafaelpatch
Patch Instagram photo by sanrafaelpatch
Patch Instagram photo by sanrafaelpatch
Patch Instagram photo by sanrafaelpatch

Drakes Bay Oyster Co. Fights Closure

The owner of Drakes Bay Oyster Company said he will fight the order to close his oyster growing and harvesting business in Drakes Estero in the Point Reyes National Seashore after the company's request to extend its use permit to continue its opera

Drakes Bay Oyster Co. Fights Closure

Kevin Lunny, the owner of Drakes Bay Oyster Company, said he will fight the order to close his oyster growing and harvesting business in Drakes Estero in the Point Reyes National Seashore.

The company's request to extend its use permit to continue its operations for another 10 years was denied Thursday by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

The National Park Service said under its 40-year agreement with the Johnson Oyster Company that expired Friday, the estuary is to return to wilderness area. Lunny bought the business in 2004.

Environmentalists and the National Park Service claimed the oyster company's operations threatened endangered species, including harbor seals.

Drakes Bay Oyster Company retained the Washington D.C. government accountability group Cause of Action to fight the closure.

"We are fighting against a federal government that seems to value lies over truth and special interests over the welfare of a community," Lunny said in a news release by Cause of Action.

He did not immediately return calls for further comment, but he said Thursday he and his employees were "devastated" by Salazar's announcement.

"The National Park Service has not just shut down our business, but has misrepresented the law, our contracts with the state of California, and the results of scientific studies," Lunny said in the release.

Cause of Action Executive Director Dan Epstein said the organization is working with the Lunny family "on the best legal strategies moving forward."

"We aim to hold the National Park Service accountable for their treatment of the Lunny family and the Drakes Bay Oyster Company as we view their actions as a disregard for law and precedent that demands accountability," Epstein said.

Cause of Action filed a 34-page complaint in U.S. District Court in San Francisco Monday against the National Park Service, Salazar and the Department of the Interior in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

The complaint alleges Salazar's decision not to extend the use permit violates the National Environmental Policy Act, and that National Park Service employees gave false information on the application for a permit extension.

Cause of Action asks the court to declare Salazar's decision null and void, unconstitutional, arbitrary and capricious, and to order Salazar to direct the National Park Service to issue the oyster company a 10-year extension of its permit.

--Bay City News Service

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