SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – An oyster farm in the Point Reyes National Seashore won an order from a federal appeals court in San Francisco Monday allowing it to stay open for the time being during its longer-term battle against closure.
The Drakes Bay Oyster Co. has sued to challenge a November decision by U.S. Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar to deny the farm a permit extension and to allow its site along a Drakes Bay estuary to return to wilderness.
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.
A three-judge panel said it was granting the temporary order because “there are serious legal questions and the balance of hardships tips sharply” in the farm’s favor.
Owner Kevin Lunny and the company had argued in their bid for an emergency injunction that being forced to close while they appeal the lower-court decision would cause severe hardship by destroying the current oyster crop and causing 31 people to lose their jobs.
The appeals court put the case on a fast-track schedule and said arguments will be heard at its San Francisco courthouse during the week of May 13. The court has no deadline for issuing a ruling, however.