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Point Reyes oyster farmer threatens to sue park service

December 04, 2012|Julie Cart
  • Cows graze on some of the hundreds of acres of farmland in the Point Reyes National Seashore.
Cows graze on some of the hundreds of acres of farmland in the Point Reyes… (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles…)

Defiant oyster farmer Kevin Lunny is fighting back against the decision last week by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to allow the farm’s  permit to operate in Point Reyes National Seashore to expire. With that edict, the 2,200-acre portion in Drakes Estero will be managed as federal wilderness.

There was little chance that Lunny would accept Salazar’s ruling, and this week the Washington, D.C.-based government accountability group Cause of Action announced its intention to sue the National Park Service on Lunny’s behalf.

Executive director Dan Epstein said, "We aim to hold the National Park Service accountable for their treatment of the Lunny family and the Drakes Bay Oyster Company as we view their actions as a disregard for law and precedent that demands accountability."

In a statement, Lunny said that his "dedicated small family farm" had been "steam rolled" by the federal government and that he was suing in order to look out for the "welfare of our community."

He and his supporters have claimed that park scientists manipulated science as a pretext to removing the commercial operation from the park and converting the land to wilderness, as Congress intended.

Lunny’s family bought the oyster farm with that understanding, knowing that the permit expired on Oct. 20, 2012. But he has fought to stay on, enlisting the help of attorneys, scientists and Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

The law firm of Stoel Rives, which regularly represents developers and commercial interests on public land, is also representing Lunny.

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