October 20, 2014

Drakes Bay Oyster Company reaches settlement

By Anthony L. Francois Senior Attorney

Earlier this year the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s appeal of whether it could challenge the Interior Department’s refusal to renew its permit in federal court.  Since that decision, the oyster farm has ceased retail sales on site, and recently completed a settlement agreement that allows it to continue harvesting shellfish from Drakes Estero until the end of 2014.  One of the benefits of the settlement for the oyster farm is that the federal government has taken responsibility for removal of structures and improvements at the site, including removal of the oyster racks in Drakes Estero.  The federal government also committed efforts to assist farm workers who will be displaced by termination of the permit, including allowing those who live on site with their families to remain in place at least 90 days after the farm shuts down at the end of this year.

The owners have announced that they will be opening a restaurant in the town of Inverness, near Point Reyes.  The Lunny family has earned the appreciation of all from the prosecution of their case: they stood up to a nasty campaign of disinformation against them; stood up to arbitrary and unjust treatment by the Park Service and Interior Department; and pursued their cause all the way to the Supreme Court.  They are now taking the path of all great Americans: recovering from the set back and moving on.  We are disappointed for their loss, but our hats are off to them.

What to read next