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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | North Bay / Marin | U.S. | Environment & Forest Defense
More Links between Drakes Bay Oyster Co., Right-Wing Groups
With a hearing scheduled in the 9th Circuit Federal Appeals Court tomorrow, May 14th, the long-scheduled closure of the Drakes Bay Oyster Company has become a cause celebre of well-funded conservative groups, as they seek to overturn the Interior Department’s decision so they can open more of our protected public lands to oil and gas exploration.
Right-wing national organizations have launched new efforts in the wake of moves by Washington politicians, including oil-state Senator David Vitter (R-Louisiana), who inserted language in his Keystone pipeline project and coastal drilling bill to give this one company a new, exclusive permit worth millions of dollars in an ecologically sensitive marine wilderness area, and House Republican Natural Resources Committee Chairman “Doc” Hastings (R-Washington), who has launched a review after assailing the Obama Administration’s decision to protect the Point Reyes National Seashore on its 50th Anniversary.
A sample of recent national right-wing involvement:
· Several weeks ago, Cause of Action, a Beltway-based legal foundation that refuses to reveal its funders but has strong links to the right-wing Koch Brothers, stepped into the fray, driving the company’s legal fight. The respected PBS “Newshour” http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2013/05/conflict-of-lease-and-legacy-provokes-controversy-on-the-half-shell.html exposed their involvement. Since that time, we have learned Cause of Action has been involved in 11 lawsuits, all advocating conservative causes, including a suit against the EPA and against Delaware’s governor trying to kill the development of renewable energy in that state.
· Yesterday, national Fox News http://video.foxnews.com/v/2376406357001/family-owned-business-says-govt-trying-to-shut-them-down/ joined their crusade with a biased report. In the interview, the Fox news host repeatedly misstated facts, and the Oyster company’s owner fails to mention that he bought the property in 2005 fully knowing that his permit to operate would expire 7 years later.
· We also have learned that the Pacific Legal Foundation, linked to the Koch Brothers by Sourcewatch http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Koch_Family_Foundations , is involved in the legal fight http://www.pacificlegal.org/pcg/PLF-to-back-Drakes-Bay-Oyster-Company-in-court, as it notes that it will be in the Court on Tuesday, live tweeting.
It’s clear that this is no longer about an oyster company with a significant record of violations with the California Coastal Commission.
It’s about out-of-state special interests working with the oyster company to set a dangerous new precedent to deregulate commercial activity on protected public lands and open them to oil and gas exploration.