Calif. oyster grower fights National Park Service
Cause of Action, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit dedicated to fighting federal overreach, today filed a Data Quality Act complaint before the National Park Service (NPS) for its intentional use of inaccurate, nontransparent and deliberately misleading information in an attempt to deny a renewable permit to a California family business for use of national park territory.
Kevin and Nancy Lunny have a permit that allows their family business, Drakes Bay Oyster Co., to farm oysters in the Point Reyes National Seashore. When it expires in November, Drakes Bay, which has been operating for many years, will be forced to shut down and more than two dozen Californians will lose their jobs, thereby cutting off a substantial amount of the Bay Area’s commercial oyster supply.
“The National Park Service should not be allowed to get away with using bad data to justify closing a small business,” said Amber Abbasi, chief regulatory counsel at Cause of Action. “The evidence clearly shows how NPS, despite being called out by another federal agency and a credible member of the National Academy of Sciences, is using junk science to bully a family business into shutting down. We’ve sent a complaint to the NPS urging them to adhere to their own information-quality standards for the use of scientific information and correct the Final Environmental Impact Statement. NPS needs to make clear that a neutral scientific analysis reveals that DBOC does not adversely impact the environment in Drakes Estero.”
Cause of Action filed the Data Quality Act Complaint with the NPS on behalf of the Lunnys, who claim substantial inaccuracies in the NPS draft environmental impact statement regarding the company's special use permit.
NPS claims Drakes Bay causes a “major impact to soundscape,” but the company counters that NPS never took on-site measurements of noise generated by its equipment. Instead, the DEIS used data from an obscure 1995 study, claiming this data was “representative” of noise generated by DBOC’s equipment in 2012.
NPS also claims that Drakes Bay causes an “adverse impact” to harbor seals, birds and bird habitat, or visitor experience and recreation. The company says that NPS ignores its own 281,000 time- and date-stamped photographs taken over a three-year period, none of which indicate that DBOC has an impact on Drakes Estero’s harbor seal colony.