My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

The Drake’s Bay oyster farm

I am not going to reply to the comments on my last post just yet, instead, I am going to start this post off with a quote from Diane Feinstein, senior Senator from California.

“Accurate, objective science should guide environmental policy, and when science has acknowledged problems, it should never be used to make decisions. There is no guarantee that any given study is perfect, but we should all agree that decisions based on science we know to be flawed is a stark violation of the public trust.”

Senator Feinstein wrote that in an op-ed piece concerning the case of the Drake’s Bay oyster farm in the Point Reyes National Seashore. I am not going to go into great details on this case, I’m not sure how many people would believe what I had to say anyway, given what I posted yesterday.

Here’s a brief synopsis, the National Park Service, part of the Department of Interior, has chosen not to renew the lease for an oyster farm that has been in business since long before the Point Reyes National Seashore came into existence back in 1976. The feds have given the owners of the oyster farm 90 days to cease operations, including removing and destroying the existing “crop” of oysters presently growing in the bay. Thirty one workers will lose their jobs, 15 of the workers will also lose their homes, as they live in housing provided by the owner of the oyster farm.

This case has many interesting and informative aspects, such as the fact that the local chapter of the Sierra Club supports the oyster farm, saying that the farm is a perfect example of an environmentally friendly and sustainable way of producing food, while the people in the headquarters of the Sierra Club are demanding that the farm be shut down because of the adverse environmental impact the farm has.

Also interesting is what the National Academy of Sciences had to say about the scientific studies used by the Department of Interior as justification for shutting down the oyster farm, claiming the National Park Service was trying to get rid of the oyster farm by exaggerating its negative impacts on the environment. During the impasse, more than $1 million in taxpayer money was spent on environmental assessment studies, according to records.

To me, this case speaks volumes about bending science, as well as many other subjects that I’m not going to list at this time. I don’t think that any one would accuse Senator Feinstein of being a right-wing whack job, and she’s supporting the oyster farm, so I urge my readers to do a little research on this case on their own, it could be an eye-opening experience, that goes along the lines of what I posted yesterday about climate change.


4 responses

  1. Excellent post. Thank you….and my interest is piqued…

    December 28, 2012 at 3:26 pm

  2. From what I’ve read this is less about science than it is about law. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Mercury, and others the Government bought the land from the original company owners in 1972 with the understanding that they had a 40 year lease and the business could continue until the lease ran out in 2012. Then in 2004 the current owner, knowing that the lease was up in 2012, bought the company anyway and is now crying about the lease not being renewed.
    Meanwhile, in 1976 congress passed a law designating Drakes Bay as the first marine wilderness area on the West Coast. Now Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, is following the law passed by congress in 1976 and is allowing the lease to expire. In other words, he’s doing exactly what he was appointed to do, which is to protect national parks and other government owned lands.
    My own personal opinion is that an oyster farm probably doesn’t do that much damage to the environment, but I neither is it “natural.” If I visit Yellowstone I don’t expect to find oil wells next to Old Faithful, and if I visit a “marine wilderness area” I wouldn’t expect to see an oyster farm. I’d expect to find exactly what was advertised-a wilderness.

    December 28, 2012 at 4:05 pm

  3. The above respondent is correct, according press releases which can easily be Googled.

    December 28, 2012 at 4:32 pm

  4. This has to be one of the craziest stories I’ve ever heard. Picking on the little guy, while companies like BP and Exxon get off with a song.

    December 28, 2012 at 9:35 pm