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

California Democratic Party’s Environmental Caucus Rejects Drakes Bay Oyster Co.
by Amy Trainer
Monday Nov 25th, 2013 8:40 AM
In three key votes, the Environmental Caucus overwhelmingly supported Drakes Estero Wilderness by 3 to 1 margin and rejected support of Drakes Bay Oyster Company.
In a major win for supporters of Wilderness, the California Democratic Party’s Environmental Caucus overwhelmingly passed a resolution supporting protection of the Drakes Estero Marine Wilderness area in Point Reyes National Seashore on Saturday.

“Thankfully the Environmental Caucus agreed that a deal is a deal, and that the Interior Department’s decision to let the 40-year lease expire was good government in action. Like the millions of us that cherish our national parks and wilderness areas, they supported returning this ecologically rich estuary to all American to enjoy as long ago planned,” said Amy Trainer, executive director of the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin. “This company continues to flout the California Coastal Act, refusing to comply with the second cease and desist order against it, and it is fundamentally incompatible with a national park wilderness area,” said Trainer.

The 26-8 vote supporting Drakes Estero came at the annual meeting of the California Democratic Party’s Executive Board in Milbrae. It comes in the wake of the Sonoma County Democratic Central Committee’s approval of the pro-wilderness resolution in early October in an 18-5 vote. “North Bay democrats clearly see the DBOC campaign aligned with the Koch brothers agenda, and we were proud to support protecting America's best idea, our national parks, from exploitation," said former Sebastopol mayor Lynn Hamilton. "I'm grateful to the Environmental Caucus for making the right decision,” said Hamilton.

On Saturday, the Environmental Caucus also twice rejected a resolution to support the ongoing operation of the Drakes Bay Oyster Company by 24-8 votes. Amy Trainer and Lynn Hamilton spoke at the Caucus on behalf of the national coalition supporting the protection Drake Estero.

The Drakes Bay Oyster Company was denied for the second time a preliminary injunction to keep operating by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on September 3rd. Refusing to take no for an answer, the Company petitioned for an en banc rehearing before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in mid-October, and the Department of Justice has been requested to file a response brief to it by December 2nd. The Company was removed from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Partner list almost 4 years ago and is being supported by the Koch brothers funded Pacific Legal Foundation and is working with the Tea Party in its quest to privatize Drakes Estero Wilderness.