Jeff Quackenbush, NORTH BAY BUSINESS JOURNAL
In a move considered rare against California Coastal Commission enforcement orders, a Marin County judge on Thursday blocked commission enforcement orders deemed devastating to Drakes Bay Oyster Co., which harvests one-third of California’s supply.
Drakes Bay Oyster raised clusters of the creatures on wires, known as “strings,” submerged in Drakes Estero. The company feared that a California Coastal Commission order last year would force removal of the 95 such racks. (credit: Drakes Bay Oyster)
The west Marin oyster farm still has an appeal against a National Park Service refusal to renew the company’s lease in Point Reyes National Seashore, but attorneys for the farm hope the U.S. Supreme Court as soon as Monday will take up the matter.
In a 23-page judgment filed Thursday, Marin County Superior Court judge Roy Chernus ruled that the commission does have jurisdiction over the company’s operations, but it “abused its discretion” by issuing cease-and-desist and restitution orders without studying the environmental impact of the work needed to comply with those actions.
The commission contended that its requirements for the oyster farm to continue operating and do remediation were exempted enforcement actions, thus not needing an environmental impact report, or EIR, beforehand.