Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Wilderness: Oyster Farm Gets Temporary Reprieve

The Drakes Bay Oyster Co. can keep farming a few more months as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit sorts out a legal challenge to a government-imposed shutdown. Three days before its lease was set to expire, the Ninth Circuit on Monday enjoined Interior Secretary Ken Salazar from evicting the company while the appellate court hears the company's legal challenge. "Appellants' emergency motion for an injunction pending appeal is granted, because there are serious legal questions and the balance of hardships tips sharply in appellants' favor," the Ninth Circuit's motions panel stated in a brief order in Drakes Bay Oyster v. Salazar, 13-15227. The court set a hearing on the merits for the week of May 13 in San Francisco. The ruling revives a hard-fought battle that has divided West Marin County, sown dissension between eco-conscious foodies and environmentalists, and galvanized conservative media outlets because it pits a small business against the federal government. Neal Desai, associate director of the National Parks Conservation Association for the Pacific region, said he believes environmentalists will be vindicated when the Ninth Circuit reaches the merits. Monday's decision, he said in a written statement, "unfortunately delays by two months the ability for Americans to enjoy their national park wilderness." Congress designated the Point Reyes National Seashore a wilderness area in 1972, but carved an exception for Drakes Estero as "potential wilderness." Potential wilderness was to be managed "as wilderness, to the extent possible, with efforts to steadily continue to remove all obstacles to the eventual conversion ... to wilderness."...more

Let's not forget Obama's nominee for Sec. of Interior sits on the board of the National Parks Conservation Association.

And where have we seen the term "potential wilderness" before?  Oh yeah, it was in former Senator Jeff Bingaman's wilderness legislation for southern NM.

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