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Point Reyes oyster farm denied 2nd bid to remain open

Francisco Manzo, left, and Francisco Lopez process oysters at the Drakes Bay Oyster Farm facility near Inverness in 2012.

PD FILE, 2012
Published: Monday, February 11, 2013 at 3:13 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 11, 2013 at 3:13 p.m.

A federal judge on Monday denied Drakes Bay Oyster Co.'s second legal bid to remain in business beyond a Feb. 28 deadline to quit harvesting oysters from Drakes Estero in the Point Reyes National Seashore.

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers issued a 70-word order rejecting oyster farm operator Kevin Lunny's appeal of her previous ruling on Feb. 4.

Lawyers for Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in court papers that Lunny's appeal presented "no new or additional grounds as to the merits of the controversy" and made no new arguments themselves.

The case stems from the Nov. 29 decision by Salazar to not renew the oyster farm's lease. The National Park Service then ordered the business to shutter by the end of February.

Rogers said in her previous ruling that she lacked jurisdiction to review Salazar's decision, and continued, in a 31-page ruling, to reject Lunny's arguments, including the financial impact of closing up.

The oyster farm harvests 8 million oysters a year, worth about $1.5 million, from the 2,500-acre estuary designated as wilderness on the Marin County coast.

Lunny's lawyers, with Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Cause of Action, asked for a ruling by Rogers on Monday so they would have time for an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The nonprofit did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

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