The PJ Tatler

California Oyster Farm Gets Reprieve from Ninth Circuit

A historic California oyster farm won an injunction against an Interior Department order to shut down as the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals considers the Point Reyes company’s appeal.

The Drakes Bay Oyster Company has been in a long fight with the Interior Department, who said the fourth-generation family business was harming harbor seal pups and native plants, and wanted to return the coastal region in Marin County to its natural state.

In 1972, the National Park Service purchased the land that housed the oyster operation and the owner reserved a 40-year right to continue its activities through Nov. 30, 2012. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar decided the permit would not be renewed, sparking criticism from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) for the department’s use of “false and misleading science” to target the oyster farm.

A district judge denied the injunction earlier this month, but on appeal the Ninth Circuit granted the motion allowing the company to remain open while the court considers the appeal in Drakes Bay Oyster Company v. Salazar, et al.

“Interior attempted to flat out kill this oyster farm and its jobs by using misleading science and ignoring economic impacts,” said Senate Environment and Public Works Ranking Member David Vitter (R-La.). “I applaud the Ninth Circuit for taking this first step to recognizing that the Interior agency bureaucrats, including Ken Salazar, almost put people out of work for no good reason.”

The case has divided California’s two Democratic senators, with Feinstein laboring to keep the business alive and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) supporting the environmentalists.