Is New Court Ruling the End of the Line for Drakes Bay Oyster Company?

Categories: Controversy

Josh Edelson
The few buildings that make up Drakes Bay Oyster Company.
Drakes Bay Oyster Company is still fighting for the right to stay open, but today brought another blow to its legal battle. It's been a very complicated story to follow -- I wrote a long feature about the whole situation last April if you want the background -- but really all you need to know is that the oyster farm near Point Reyes has been legally appealing for the right to stay open since November 2012, when then-Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar ordered it to close.

In a 2-1 decision today, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Drakes Bay Oyster Company's appeal for a rehearing on a previous ruling: the court's September 2013 decision to uphold Salazar's order.

See also: Shuck and Jive: Drakes Bay Oyster Company Forces a Redefinition of Environmentalism

Why did Salazar order it closed in the first place? Well, the oyster farm is located on the pristine 2,500-acre Drakes Estero -- land that belongs to the federal government as part of Point Reyes National Seashore. When the oyster farm's lease ran out 15 months ago, Salazar decreed it should close so the estuary could revert to marine wilderness, the highest level of government protection for land.

The farm has been allowed to stay open during the appellate appeals process, and though its counsel has intimated that the case could be taken all the way to the Supreme Court, the farm would need to get another court order to stay open during a new appeal. (If the farm closes, it may never reopen -- it would not only put a few dozen employees out of a job, but it would also destroy thousands of dollars worth of oyster stock in the water.)

We're still waiting for the official statement from the Drakes folks on their next steps, but this new decision is definitely a setback to the farm's battle to continue producing local oysters for the Bay Area.

Here's the full decision:

9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Denial of Rehearing in Drakes Bay Oyster Co. v. Jewell et al.

[via KQED]

My Voice Nation Help

And the dairies get a pass because...?  The oyster farm cleans the water around it.

red.marcy.rand topcommenter

Typical of California statism. If an area can't be preserved voluntarily then it shouldn't be.

Since they were there before it was proclaimed a special status they have prior rights and should be able to stay. The statist-collectivist goons at the East Bay Express (AKA The Gammon Gazette) are the main loony leftists pushing this move.

Alex Rothwell
Alex Rothwell

seems like they should be able to stay there. Hopefully they can relocate. Although easier sad than done.

Fred Rinne
Fred Rinne

they are on OUR land and the lease is up.

Michael Davidson
Michael Davidson

Yay! What are you all booing? It's one of the most pristine and protected areas we have around here. Why let one invasive species ruin it? (humans)

whateveryousay topcommenter

Humans are part of the ecosystem and we have a right to exist.   

red.marcy.rand topcommenter

We do not need government protection from anything. Another stupid job destroying move. Some non-profit can buy the land if they are that concerned about it.

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