Circuit Court Rejects Drakes Bay Oyster's Bid for Rehearing

The court's action is a big blow to the oyster farm's efforts to remain open.

Patch file photo
Patch file photo

By Julia Cheever

Bay City News Service


An oyster farm in the Point Reyes National Seashore today lost another round in its fight to stay open.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court Appeals in San Francisco turned down a bid by the Drakes Bay Oyster Co. to have its case reconsidered by an expanded 11-judge panel.

The oyster farm is challenging a decision by former Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar in 2012 to refuse a lease extension.

The decision, if upheld, would force the oyster farm to close and allow the site to return to wilderness.

The company had asked the appeals court to have an expanded panel review a ruling in which a three-judge panel of the circuit court in September refused by a 2-1 vote to block Salazar's decision from going into effect.

The court said in an order today that the farm's request for a rehearing by an 11-judge panel had been forwarded to the full 27-member appeals court, and no judge on the court had called for a vote on whether to grant a rehearing.

The farm has one more possible step in its appeal -- a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court. Peter Prows, a lawyer for the oyster company, said, "We are contemplating our next steps."

Oyster farm spokeswoman Tina Walker said, "We strongly disagree" with the denial of a rehearing.

The farm has been allowed to continue operating during its appeals.

The private company grows oysters on 1,000 acres of submerged land in Drakes Estero, an estuary of Drakes Bay, and packages them on 1.5 acres of land along the shoreline.

It says it produces more than a third of all oysters grown in California.

Owners Kevin and Nancy Lunny bought the operation from a predecessor company in 2004 and took over a 40-year permit that expired in 2012.

The company sued the Interior Department in 2012 to challenge Salazar's decision. It appealed to the 9th Circuit after U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers of Oakland declined to grant a preliminary injunction blocking the closure.

The trial judge said Salazar had "complete discretion" to decide whether to renew the permit.

Neal Desai, a spokesman for the National Parks Conservation Association, said, "This is a strong ruling that affirms our national parks will be preserved.

"We've waited for 40 years and now it's time to return this gem to the wilderness for all Americans," Desai said.


Copyright © 2014 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.


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Al Nymous January 15, 2014 at 12:26 PM
Nice job hippies. Now nobody can enjoy those delicious drakes bay oysters.
Al Nymous January 15, 2014 at 12:33 PM
I will never spend a cent in point reyes national sea shore again.
Julia Angel January 15, 2014 at 12:45 PM
This was my comment I posted in the Marin IJ article, but somehow it got deleted. Mr. Lunny, Please leave our national seashore the way it was before your oyster farming took over. It is really messy out there still. You can farm elsewhere. Sincerely, Julia Angel
novato 3per January 15, 2014 at 08:47 PM
"To return this gem to the wilderness for all Americans" - What exactly does that mean in this case? A vital sea food resource has been taken away from Americans, more jobs have been taken away from Americans, a source of history, local economy and tourism has been taken away from Americans, etc. I'm so tired of this "two legs bad, four legs good" mentality we get from the eco-nuts / EPA . What about OUR needs? This was a HUGE regional supplier to markets and restaurants all over Northern California. Where was the democratic process on this?What happened to "I know my farmer I know my food" " buy local", etc..? Are we supposed to buy more crap seafood from Mexico or Vietnam instead? I'm all for protecting the environment in meaningful ways, when there is something truly wrong going on, but they were simply raising a renewable resource in it's natural environment with no real pollution at all. As for you Julia, I think I feel another "purge" coming on.. Good luck in your Supreme Court fight Lunny Family , employees, and Tomales Bay economy!
novato 3per January 15, 2014 at 08:48 PM
I meant Drakes Bay - you already know what I meant.
Bubba six pack January 15, 2014 at 09:57 PM
Oysters are native to this area also. Let the city of Novato annex it, and then we can build affordable housing for the oysters who are too lazy to look for food and just want it brought to them on their string. Finally, AH that works!
Al Nymous January 15, 2014 at 10:07 PM
The native oysters get drunk on fire water and become a public nuisance.
novato 3per January 15, 2014 at 10:32 PM
this is in response to that damn Hillary ad on this page: http://earloftaint.com/2014/01/07/hell-yeah-im-ready/ready-2/
novato 3per January 15, 2014 at 10:35 PM
That was funny Bubba. You are a mis-informed tea party hater, but you've grown on me like a fungus.
novato 3per January 15, 2014 at 10:39 PM
Now, since you've been around this site longer than me would you please explain this Julia Angel situation? Or is that going to get all comments erased or "purged" again? I think she's connected to the editors.
DavethePragmatist January 16, 2014 at 12:00 AM
maybe we should put Novato, and California, and the continent back the way it was before humans arrived...@Julia....
novato 3per January 16, 2014 at 12:23 AM
Nice one Dave, you mean the way it was before HOUSE CATS arrived!! OMG!
Trailbikerbilly January 16, 2014 at 12:24 AM
Maybe we could just ride a triceratops over to Kentucky Fried Pterodactyl for lunch if we want to go back as far as Julia wants us to go. They say oysters are an aphrodisiac, so maybe we could load her up and see what happens.
novato 3per January 16, 2014 at 12:38 AM
Meoww.Uh oh..I'm feeling the need to purge again.
Julia Angel January 16, 2014 at 10:34 AM
That is so funny! Actually that is what I see happening! Good post Dave!
Bubba six pack January 16, 2014 at 05:39 PM
Nice to know you spackle your shorts over my posts, 3per, but you're still a freaking wack job. Problem is-- is that you're a tax paying law abiding pistol packing wack job, just the type I want in my foxhole when it hits the fan. Julia and her cat get their own foxhole (full of oyster shells).
Julia Angel January 16, 2014 at 06:19 PM
Allright Bubba, It is a mess out there. I saw it 2 times with my own eyes. I did not like it either time. And so I am saying so. Why should people be allowed to trash our coastline? And as far as oysters go, I do not like any seafood. But that is not why I object to this. I just want people to be responsible in their business, no matter where it is.
Bubba six pack January 16, 2014 at 07:29 PM
I like your spunk, Angel, but ever since the big bang it's been a roshambo battle for turf. At the very least, I'm sure the Paramecium is as pissed at the two cell dudes invading his turf as I am at triple bob strollers rolling out of AH warehouses. We're all invaders to primordial soup, so get used to it. 98% of all species were extinct before we came along, and it'll never end. I like oysters with dolphin fin soup and condor eggs, cooked slowly over the tea party manifesto, so shoot me. Better yet, let's team up with 3per, who has more weapons than Ted Nugent, and whack that bully cat you hate. On the way out, we'll stop by that lawn party and let them know they're next .
novato 3per January 16, 2014 at 10:30 PM
Julia, I'll tell you flat out that as someone who admittedly does "not like any seafood", you just did your argument against an oyster farm a huge disservice. Now, I'll humour that for the time being if you would tell me what exactly you saw "2 times with [your] own eyes" that is so "messy" out there, and how is "it" an indisputable result of oyster farming?
Julia Angel January 17, 2014 at 10:48 AM
Have either of you seen it? Before you post anything further, take the drive out there on that crumby dirt road. And then report back here. Do a little investigating in reality. Either way, It is not really a big deal now. So many people are not happy with the Lunnys. It is not a good way to live. By the novato 3per, are you from England? Your English side is coming through- humour? In the US we say humor, just saying...
Julia Angel January 17, 2014 at 10:49 AM
Bubba, I dealt with the Bully cat already. I don't need your help. It was easy!
novato 3per January 17, 2014 at 01:01 PM
So you're not going to tell us what is messy about oyster farming?
Julia Angel January 17, 2014 at 01:46 PM
Novato 3per, since you do not seem to be from around here, why don"t you get into your car and take a drive out to West Marin and visit that place? Then you can see it for yourself. There is nothing like first hand knowledge.
Al Nymous January 17, 2014 at 02:01 PM
Julia, what if the government came to your house and said you are not allowed to have cats anymore because they don't belong with humans, and need to be released back to nature?
novato 3per January 17, 2014 at 02:22 PM
@ Julia, I'm born and raised in Marin county 40+ years, and I asked you 3X to describe the "mess" you claim to have seen firsthand, and you cannot do it, so we'll have to conclude your position rests solely on your dislike of seafood. Besides, why would you go there unless you have a desire for seafood, which you claim you don't. Don't just take it from me, take it from your cats, seafood is a good thing.
Julia Angel January 17, 2014 at 03:45 PM
novato 3 per- this is the last post I will make on this article, because it is getting so boring.. My whole position here is that Mr. Lunny is a very irresponsible business man. I could tell by the looks of his oyster farm. And that is all that I could see there. It is nothing to do with me not eating seafood. You do not get the big picture at all. But many thousands of people elsewhere do.
novato 3per January 17, 2014 at 05:31 PM
Maybe you should go join them. You make some serious allegations ('irresponsible business man"), but you fail to follow up with any facts that might persuade someone to your point of view. Are you too caught up on feelings?
Al Nymous January 17, 2014 at 08:23 PM
Is she making that assumption from the picture??


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