The Drake’s Bay issue is one I’ve largely ignored, but after meeting Kevin Lunny on my own, as I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and then trying to look at the situation from both sides, it’s hard not to side with Kevin’s little company. It’s the perfect David versus Goliath story, and it’s not hard to figure out who’s who.
After 40 years, Drakes Bay Oyster Company has been ordered to leave the 2,500-acre inlet called Drakes Estero, and where it’s the only active commercial business. Drake’s Bay Oyster Company’s four-decade-long operating permit for Drakes Estero expired in in November 2012. The Federal Government, specifically, the Department Of The Interior, seeks to have the Drakes Estero become the first marine-protected wilderness on the West Coast.
Got it? In other words, Drake’s Bay Oyster Company has not been found to pollute Drakes Estero. The entire range of actions stems from a policy objective. That’s it.
The Federal Government action has gotten the national environmental lobby involved, and morphed into a silly liberal v conservative debate. A “litmus test” political squabble that ignores one fact: the livelyhoods of 30 workers are at stake solely because of a policy objective to achieve political points and justify Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s tenure, and not real environmental damage done on the part of Drakes Bay Oyster Company.
That’s why Lunny and Drakes Bay Oyster Company are suing the Federal Government over the right to stay open. If he fails, 30 people will be out of jobs, and the San Francisco Bay Area denied what has been a long-time local source for oysters – and for nothing.
What’s particularly bothersome is the Federal Government’s action and subsequent smearing by wanna-be environmentalists have painted Drakes Bay Oyster Company as some kind of law-breaker. The firm’s done nothing wrong. Envrionmentalists’ fears about opening up the Drakes Estero to other commercial interests are down right silly because if that was the case, businesses would have been established decades ago, and remained. They’re not going to come back just because of this issue, and to assert otherwise is childish.
What this is, is a fight for the American family farm. Just because some guy in a suit comes along and says “I want this land as pristine wilderness” doesn’t mean it’s not already close to that, or necessary to do. Again, Drakes Bay Oyster Company is the only commercial business, and there hasn’t been a clamoring demand for new companies to go there. Moreover, the National Park Service has said that Drakes Bay Oyster Company has had “no significant impact upon the environment” in 1998 and that was before the organization, under a different set of leaders, commissioned a sham study claiming environmental damage, when experts said there was none.
See how silly this is becoming? It’s all far more political than real. It’s all about either Drake’s Bay Oyster Company or nothing, and not how Drake’s Bay Oyster Company can co-exist better in the Drakes Estero – even when there’s not a real problem to start with.
I can’t believe I’m trying to blog more than is necessary. The story is really simple, but it’s complicated by power politics brought to bear on a small business owner.