October 24, 2013
Two former California lawmakers who helped establish Point Reyes National Seashore have filed a federal court brief supporting a commercial oyster farm's right to continue harvesting shellfish in the park's protected waters.
William Bagley, a former Marin County assemblyman, and Pete McCloskey, a former Bay Area congressman, filed a 26-page brief this week supporting Drakes Bay Oyster Company's bid for a rehearing by the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which rejected the company's case in September.
Their “friend of the court” brief challenged the legality of former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's decision nearly a year ago not to renew oyster farmer Kevin Lunny's permit to raise oysters in Drakes Estero, a 2,500-acre Pacific Ocean estuary.
The brief, backed by 11 other parties including the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, also asserted that even without a federal permit for use of the estero shoreline, Lunny could continue oyster cultivation under a state lease of the estero “water bottoms.”