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Powerful House Republican enters Drakes Bay oyster fray

A powerful House Republican has waded into the Drakes Bay Oyster Co. controversy by asking the Interior Department for copies of all the documents related to last year's decision not to renew the Marin County oyster farm's permit.

Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, made the request in a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar that revived allegations of scientific misconduct in the government's assessment of the oyster farm's impact on Drake's Estero in the Point Reyes National Seashore.

"Serious questions have been raised about the science used by the National Park Service to justify the closure of the oyster farm," Hastings said in a written statement.

Oyster farm operator Kevin Lunny said he appreciated Hastings' support, while Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, whose district includes Marin County, said it reflected a Republican Party agenda to make public lands "available to oil and mining interests to exploit."

Huffman, one of six California Democrats on the resources committee, also said that Hastings' engagement in the oyster farm case was "a political witch hunt to embarrass the administration."


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