Going head to head with the Wilderness Act and righteous green folk, Senator Dianne Feinstein reformulated a bill that would allow Drakes Bay Oyster Co., California's largest commercial shellfish farm, to continue farming inside the 1,100-acre land property at the Point Reyes National Seashore. According to the , the popular oyster company "has been battling the National Park Service to extend its business operation beyond a 2012 federal deadline." and "Feinstein's bill would prolong oysterman Kevin Lunny's [Drakes owner] lease for 10 years, even though an Interior Department attorney concluded that any extension of the operation would violate the federal Wilderness Act."
Lunny told the Times that he was elated with the extension, which will save his business and 30-plus jobs. "We feel fortunate to have an elected official who is really willing to dig down and understand these issues that we may see as small local issues ... [Feinstein] understands how important this resource is to our community and to our region," he chirped.
In a written statement, DiFi proclaimethed, "The 10-year extension of the Drakes Bay Oyster Company's lease will preserve 30 jobs at the last remaining oyster farm cannery on the West Coast while making sure that the ecology of the estuary is protected." She also stated, "[This is a family-owned oyster farm that has been in operation for more than 70 years, and it is a facility that predates the creation of Point Reyes National Seashore in 1960. This is an area with 15 historic dairy farms and cattle ranches, along with many roads running through it. It is not a remote wilderness."
While Drakes is responsible for 40% of oysters produced in California, an "inaccurate" National Park Service report claimed that the farm "negatively affected wildlife and plants in the area." A National Academy of Sciences study, however, says that the report was riddled with errors.LA Times