Strings of mother shells that will contain baby oysters at  Drakes Bay Oyster Co.,  in 2007 photo. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Strings of mother shells that will contain baby oysters at Drakes Bay Oyster Co., in 2007 photo. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a last-ditch appeal from Marin County’s Drakes Bay Oyster Co., the Point Reyes business that has been fighting for a decade to renew its lease at Point Reyes National Seashore.

The Supreme Court’s decision came without comment and was one in a long list of cases that the tribunal announced it will not consider.

In a statement, Drakes Bay said it believes it still has not run out of legal moves:

“We are not yet out of options,” said Kevin Lunny, owner of Drakes Bay Oyster Farm. “While we had hoped the Supreme Court would grant our cert petition requesting a review of the Ninth Circuit’s ruling, our Federal case against the government now returns to the District Court, where we will be making decisions over the next few weeks about how to proceed. We are extremely grateful to our customers and supporters for everything they have done for our family and our workers’ families over the years.”

Drakes Bay has lost successive rounds in its attempt to persuade federal courts that, by denying the oyster farm’s attempt to renew a lease that ran out in late 2012, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar had violated both federal environmental and administrative law.

Salazar refused to renew the lease based on 1970s legislation that directed the National Park Service to return Drakes Estero, where the oyster farm is located, to wilderness. Salazar’s decision required Lunny to shut down his operation and vacate the property.

Lunny’s statement leaves it unclear on what grounds he might pursue further court action. Drakes Bay has remained open during the 18 months of legal challenges to Salazar’s decision.

On Monday, KQED’s Mina Kim discussed Drakes Bay’s options with John Leshy, professor at UC Hastings College of Law:

High Court Won’t Hear Drakes Bay Oyster Co.’s Appeal of Shutdown Order 30 June,2014Dan Brekke

  • Sam juno

    Very sad to lose a third of California local oyster production. Oysters are a superfood rich in amino acides, copper, zinc, selenium and iodine. Are we Californians going to have to eat BP tainted Lousiana oyster now? I’m pro widerness, but this is a paper wilderness issue. What can we do to stop this madness?



Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke is a blogger, reporter and editor for KQED News, responsible for online breaking news coverage of topics ranging from California water issues to the Bay Area's transportation challenges. In a newsroom career that began in Chicago in 1972, Dan has worked as a city and foreign/national editor for The San Francisco Examiner, editor at Wired News, deputy editor at Wired magazine, managing editor at TechTV as well as for several Web startups.

Since joining KQED in 2007, Dan has reported, edited and produced both radio and online features and breaking news pieces. He has shared in two Society of Professional Journalists Norcal Excellence in Journalism awards — for his 2012 reporting on a KQED Science series on water and power in California, and in 2014, for KQED's comprehensive reporting on the south Napa earthquake.

In addition to his 44 years of on-the-job education, Dan is a lifelong student of history and is still pursuing an undergraduate degree.

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