Thursday, November 29, 2012
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced Thursday the Drakes Bay Oyster Co.'s operating permit will expire at Point Reyes National Seashore on Friday and Drakes Estero will return to wilderness.
"I've taken this matter very seriously," Salazar said in a written statement. "We've undertaken a robust public process to review the matter from all sides, and I have personally visited the park to meet with the company and members of the community.
"I believe it is the right decision for Point Reyes National Seashore and for future generations who will enjoy this treasured landscape."
The oyster company will have to remove its personal property from the lands and waters within 90 days. Salazar has asked the National Park Service to help the 30 employees who might be affected by the decision, including assisting with relocation, employment opportunities and training.
The oyster farm has a lease allowing it to grow and harvest oysters in Drakes Estero in the Point Reyes National Seashore, a national park. But a 40-year lease that began in 1972 expires Friday.
Park officials have maintained they signed a 40-year lease with the Johnson's Oyster Co. in 1972 with the understanding that the 2,000-acre estero would become a wilderness area this year.
But that is being contested by owner Kevin Lunny, who took over the lease in 2004, saying there is a provision to extend it. The oyster farm has outspoken supporters, Sen. Dianne Feinstein among them.
"I am extremely disappointed that Secretary Salazar chose not to renew the operating permit for the Drakes Bay Oyster Company," Feinstein said. "The National Park Service's review process has been flawed from the beginning with false and misleading science, which was also used in the environmental impact statement."
Meanwhile Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune lauded the decision.
"We're thrilled that after three decades this amazing piece of Point Reyes National Seashore will finally receive the protections it deserves," he said. "Once the oyster factory operations are removed, as originally promised...this estuary will quickly regain its wilderness characteristics and become a safe haven for marine mammals, birds and other sea life."
The decision also ensures that, in keeping with the historic use of the land, existing sustainable ranching operations within the national park will continue, Salazar said.
He directed the National Park Service to pursue extending the terms of agriculture permits from 10 to 20 years to provide greater certainty and clarity for the ranches operating within the national park's pastoral zone and to support the continued presence of sustainable ranching and dairy operations.
The anti human insane environmentalists are running the country. They won't be happy until all of the country is returned to its pristine, pre white man state. Of course until then the Sierra Club types will enjoy the benefits of the park subsidized by you the taxpayer.
This is no small park. Follow the link to see it: