Appeals court rules against Drakes Bay Oyster Company

A federal appeals court Tuesday rejected Drakes Bay Oyster Company's bid to stay in business in the Point Reyes National Seashore, backing the Interior Department's decision to terminate the company's commercial shellfish operation.

On a 2-1 ruling, the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco held that the oyster company operated by the Lunny family was "not likely to succeed" in proving that former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar erred in refusing to renew the company's permit to operate in the federally protected waters of Drakes Estero.

The appellate court panel, in a summary of its 50-page decision, said that the company "failed to raise a serious question about the Secretary's decision" and also failed to show "that the balance of equities weighed in its favor."

Judges M. Margaret McKeown and Algenon L. Marbley ruled against the oyster company. Judge Paul J. Watford dissented.

The ruling followed a May 14 hearing in San Francisco on a case that drew national attention as the family-owned oyster farm challenged the federal government.

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