Thursday, November 29, 2012

Obama Administration Fires 30 Oyster Farmers

But it's for the oysters.
From the San Fran Chronicle: U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told a popular oyster farm at Drakes Bay on Thursday to pack up and leave, effectively ending more than a century of shellfish harvesting on the picturesque inlet where Europeans first set foot in California.
Salazar's decision ends a long-running dispute between the Drakes Bay Oyster Co. and the National Park Service over the estuary at Point Reyes National Seashore where Sir Francis Drake landed more than 400 years ago.
The National Park Service intends to turn the 2,700-acre area into the first federally designated marine wilderness area on the West Coast, giving the estuary special protected status as an unaltered ecological region. To do that, Salazar rejected the oyster company's proposal to extend its 40-year lease to harvest shellfish on 1,100 acres of the property….
Salazar had the option to extend the lease for 10 years after Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., included the provision in a rider on an appropriations bill….
Kevin Lunny, a local rancher who bought the shellfish operation from Johnson Oyster Co. in 2004, said he was shocked when he got a call directly from Salazar on Thursday morning telling him that the 40-year occupancy agreement would not be renewed.
"It's disbelief and excruciating sorrow," he said of the mood at the oyster farm, where 30 people are employed, including seven families that live on the property.
"There are 30 people, all in tears this morning, who are going to lose their jobs and their homes," Lunny said. "They are experts in seafood handling and processing in the last oyster cannery in California, and there is nowhere for them to go."
Even liberal CA. Senator, Dianne Feinstein is pissed:  "I am extremely disappointed," Feinstein said Thursday in a statement. "The National Park Service's review process has been flawed from the beginning with false and misleading science, which was also used in the Environmental Impact Statement. The secretary's decision effectively puts this historic California oyster farm out of business. As a result, the farm will be forced to cease operations and 30 Californians will lose their jobs."
But, hey, it's just 30 jobs.  The Obama administration puts that many people out of work every hour, it seems.

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