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California | North Bay / Marin | U.S. | Environment & Forest Defense

Drakes Bay Oyster Co. Facing Lawsuit For Clean Water Act Violations
by River Watch
Monday Jul 15th, 2013 9:10 AM
California River Watch announced its intent to sue the Drakes Bay Oyster company for alleged ongoing violations of the Clean Water Act.
California River Watch, a Sebastopol-based organization devoted to protecting Northern California's water quality, today announced it is preparing a lawsuit against the Drakes Bay Oyster Company, saying the industrial operation operating in the Point Reyes National Seashore is polluting the ocean with waste water and other pollutants and has failed to obtain necessary permits for its operations.

In the 60-day notice to the oyster company that it intends to sue (attached below), which is required by the federal law, California River Watch alleges that the oyster company has been unlawfully discharging waste water from its shellfish operations into Drakes Estero in violation of the Clean Water Act. The 60-day notice demands immediate cessation of all unlawful discharges, and that Drakes Bay Oyster Company apply for the proper permit, something it has failed to do for over seven years.

"Drakes Bay Oyster Company, which has been repeatedly cited by state agencies for its pollution and violation of permits, is at it again," said Sarah Danley of California River Watch. "It contributes discharge waste water into the ocean, fouling our waters and degrading one of the most pristine wilderness areas established in the United States."

Drakes Bay Oyster Company was cited by the California Coastal Commission earlier this year for a host of violations of the California Coastal Act, and for failing to obtain the required coastal development permit. Rather than complying, the oyster company sued the Commission. The Commission counter-sued the oyster company for ongoing violations of the Coastal Act and Cease and Desist Orders which could carry fines and penalties totaling tens of thousands of dollars.