Tag Archives: Drake’s Bay

Oysters and the Camel’s Nose under the tent

Oyster farm loses another round

by Brian Leubitz

When the Lunny family purchased Drake’s Bay Oyster Company, they knew they were gearing up for a fight to keep the farm in Drake’s Estero in Tomales Bay just north of San Francisco. And gear up they did. When the special use permit was denied in 2012 by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, they went to court.

The Lunnys now have built an interesting coalition, from foodies like Alice Waters of Chez Panisse fame to right-wing non-profits like the Pacific Legal Foundation, which submitted an amicus brief to the 9th Circuit when the case was pending there.

More interestingly, Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana filed a bill to overturn Salazar’s decision. Why would he care, you may ask? Well, I suggest you read this East Bay Express article:

These foodies, in short, seem to think that creating an exception for the oyster farm won’t have ramifications. However, they apparently don’t realize that Republicans like Vitter don’t care whether Drakes Bay Oyster Company is environmentally sustainable. Conservatives know that Lunny provides them with a perfect opportunity: His operation has generated a split on the left that could help them in court or in Congress, and thus open the door for allowing other private businesses – including ones that are not environmentally sustainable – to receive additional rights to operate on public land, leading to more corporate exploitation of the environment.

And yesterday, the Lunnys lost another round in court, as the 9th circuit refused to rehear the case en banc.

A federal appeals court took a step Tuesday toward closing a Marin County oyster farm at the center of a heated environmental and political controversy, reaffirming its ruling that the federal government legally refused to renew the company’s lease in waters designated by Congress as a wilderness area.(SF Chronicle)

They are now planning on a Supreme Court appeal, and hoping to get a stay of the closure order pending that appeal. This case may end up being a lot bigger than some tasty oysters.