FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Settlement with NPS – New Chapter for DBOC [Read press release]
People for DBOC
Why This Matters
Preliminary Injunction for Drakes Bay Oyster Company Denied
SAN FRANCISCO—(September 23, 2014)—Court of Appeals of the District Court’s order denying their motion for a preliminary injunction. The motion sought an order that DBOC be allowed to continue its operations and that the infrastructure necessary for continued oyster cultivation in Drakes Estero be left in place while the plaintiffs’ case is heard. The motion was denied on September 9, 2014.
The plaintiffs previously reached an agreement with the National Park Service (“NPS”) that NPS would not force DBOC to cease harvesting oysters from Drakes Estero, without providing a 30-day notice. The agreement further provides that NPS will provide the same notice before removing any onshore property being used by DBOC to harvest oysters or forcing the DBOC to remove oysters or other DBOC property in the estero. NPS has not provided such notice, and DBOC continues to harvest and sell wholesale oysters.
Stuart G. Gross of Gross Law, P.C., lead attorney for the plaintiffs stated, “The District Court made several significant errors in its decision. That’s why we have courts of appeal.”
Charles “Tod” Friend, long-time Tomales Bay oyster farmer, owner of Tomales Bay Oyster Co., and plaintiff observed, “This isn’t over. Drakes Bay is too important to this community and to state’s aquaculture industry to let it go without a fight.”
In addition to being the source of 50% of the Pacific oyster grown in the California, DBOC is subject to closure following rain events for a fraction of the time that growers in Tomales and Humboldt Bay are, making it the only source of Northern California grown oysters during significant stretches most winters. The estero also has fecundity as an oyster raising location that is unparalleled in the state.
Jeffery Creque, a plaintiff, founding member of the plaintiff the Alliance for Local and Sustainable Agriculture, co-founder of the Marin Carbon Project and doctor of Rangeland Ecology echoed these sentiments, “We cannot lightly give up on a farm that raises such an enormous amount of healthy, high quality food, without any additional inputs, no freshwater, no feed. This is exactly what we need to be protecting, not tearing down.”
As an historic cultural resource, the oyster farm has been in operation over 80 years. Read Why We Must Save the Drakes Bay Oyster Farm.
The plaintiffs’ opening brief will be due on October 28, 2014. The defendants’ brief will be due twenty-eight days after plaintiffs’ brief is filed, and the plaintiffs’ reply brief will be due fourteen days after that.
Along with Gross, of Gross Law representing plaintiffs is former California state assemblyman Bill Bagley of Nossaman, LLP. Bagley authored the bill through which California deeded title to the bottomlands of the Drakes Estero to the federal government, while retaining property interests necessary to continue leasing those lands for oyster cultivation.
The lawsuit is titled, Tomales Bay Oyster Company, et al. v. U.S. Dep’t of the Interior, et al., No. 14-3246, and is pending in the District Court of the Northern District of California.
The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund is administering the litigation fund for the case. Those interested in donating should contact FTCLDF by phone 703-208-3276 or by email [email protected]
Gross Law is located at Pier 9 on The Embarcadero in San Francisco, California. Gross Law represents clients in natural resource, environmental, commercial, and business practices litigation throughout the United States.
The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund defends the rights and broadens the freedoms of family farms and artisan food producers while protecting consumer access to raw milk and nutrient-dense foods.