Judge Upholds Removal Of Point Reyes Oyster Farm

MARIN COUNTY (CBS / AP) — A federal judge on Monday denied a Northern California oyster farm’s request to have its removal from Point Reyes National Seashore overturned, and ruled against allowing it to continue doing business in the park while its lawsuit is being heard in court.

The judge denied owner Kevin Lunny’s request to void Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s refusal to renew the historic oyster farm’s lease for another 10 years.

The rulings dealt a blow to the popular Drakes Bay Oyster Co.’s last-ditch effort to remain in business beyond its March 15 eviction date.

Point Reyes National Seashore was added to the national parks system by Congress in 1962, and protects more than 80 miles of California coastline. It is managed by the National Park Service, which is part of the Interior Department.

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers wrote in her decision that she did not believe she had authority to overturn Salazar, and that even if she did, “plaintiffs have not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of the claims.”

Salazar, in denying Lunny’s request to extend the lease, said the land should be returned to wilderness status as Congress decided in the 1976 Point Reyes Wilderness Act. He ordered Lunny to remove all of the farm’s property from the pristine waters of the Drakes Estero.

Environmentalists and park officials said the oyster farm’s motor boats and equipment threaten nearby harbor seals and polluted the otherwise clean waters.

The farm found powerful allies in Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and the National Academy of Sciences, which charged that the National Park Service was trying to get rid of the oyster farm by exaggerating its negative impacts on the environment.

A spokesman for Cause of Action, the legal group that brought the suit on behalf of the farm, did not immediately return a request for comment.

Interior spokesman Blake Androff said he would not comment because the case is still ongoing.

“Today’s decision is another affirmation of the principle that `a deal is a deal,”‘ Johanna Wald, senior counselor at the National Resources Defense Council, said in a statement. “The preservation of Drakes Estero will be enjoyed by millions of Californians and lovers of wilderness and parks for generations to come.”

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2013/02/06/marin-oyster-farm-appeals-judges-ruling-on-its-closure/ Marin Oyster Farm Appeals Judge’s Ruling On Its Closure « CBS San Francisco

    […] The company wants the court to allow the facility to stay open while its case is heard, a request a lower court judge denied. […]

  • http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2013/02/19/drakes-bay-oyster-co-begins-final-appeal-to-stay-open/ Drakes Bay Oyster Co. Begins Final Appeal To Stay Open « CBS San Francisco

    […] this year, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar refused to renew the farm’s lease in the national park, saying the waters of Drakes Estero should return to […]

  • http://oysterzone.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/02-20-13-sarah-rolf-comments-on-comments-to-cbs-story-about-final-appeal/ 02-20-13 Sarah Rolf Comments on comments to CBS story about Final Appeal « Drakes Bay Oyster Company & the National Park Service. (to watch the video) "THE FRAMING OF AN OYSTER FARM", go to: http://vimeo.com/52331881

    […] this year, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar refused to renew the farm’s lease in the national park, saying the waters of Drakes Estero should return to […]

  • http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2013/02/25/marin-oyster-farm-wins-injunction-to-stay-open-during-appeal/ Marin Oyster Farm Wins Injunction To Stay Open During Appeal « CBS San Francisco

    […] In Monday’s order, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the farm an injunction allowing it to continue operating while it appeals a lower court order that denied a preliminary injunction. […]

  • http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2013/05/14/drakes-bay-oyster-company-making-final-appeal-to-stay-open/ Drakes Bay Oyster Company Making Final Appeal To Stay Open « CBS San Francisco

    […] The oyster farm is appealing a decision in which U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers of Oakland in February refused to issue a preliminary injunction, after concluding that Salazar had “complete discretion” to decide whether to continue the permit. […]

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