SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The owners of a Northern California oyster farm that is scheduled to be removed from Point Reyes National Seashore are appealing a judge’s refusal to allow it to stay open while its lawsuit against the government proceeds.

Oysters at Drake's Bay (Quest/KQED)
Oysters at Drake’s Bay (Quest/KQED)

Drakes Bay Oyster Co. on Wednesday filed an appeal with the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The company wants the court to allow the facility to stay open while its case is heard, a request a lower court judge denied.

Oyster farm owner Kevin Lunny said he is committed to fighting Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s refusal to renew the farm’s lease in the national park.

Salazar said the waters of Drakes Estero should return to wilderness.

The Interior Department refused to comment on the ongoing legal case.

More on the legal aspects

The legal maneuvering can be a little confusing, so here it is in an oyster shell: The oyster farm’s lease has expired. The U.S. Interior Department, which manages the land for the U.S. government, has told the company it has to go by March 15. The company filed a lawsuit to overturn that ruling. But since lawsuits take a long time to work their way through the courts, the oyster farm asked a judge to let it stay at Point Reyes until the lawsuit is decided. A U.S. District Court denied that request. Now the farm is appealing to a higher court, still hoping it can stay in place until the lawsuit is decided.

Still more from the Marin Independent Journal:

“We are committed to fighting against government abuse and overreach to keep the Lunny family in business, and are taking all the necessary legal steps to appeal this ruling,” said Amber Abbasi, chief counsel for regulatory affairs at Cause of Action, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization.

Neal Desai, associate director of the National Parks Conservation Association Pacific Region, stood by Judge Rogers’ ruling.

“We think the District Court got it right when it decided that the secretary had discretion to let the lease expire and that the oyster company was not at all convincing that it could win its lawsuit,” he said. “It’s time to move on and allow Americans to enjoy their national park wilderness.”

  • http://twitter.com/polarscribe Travis Mason-Bushman

    The “government abuse and overreach” in this case apparently being the NPS taking possession of land it already bought and paid for several decades ago.

    The guy bought the lease knowing it had an expiration date. Time to let nature take hold in a national park.

  • Tivon

    “We are committed to fighting against government abuse and overreach” such an erroneous statement that earns no sympathy in the court or court of public opinion. Uphold your end of the lease and move off public land. I appreciate oysters and the oysters farm in general, but this is getting selfishly outbid hand with profits being the motivation. We can’t continue to have private company dictate what ones on with public land, it’s been decided by the people AND the court. Put this money and effort into finding a new location and building your business

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