Drakes Bay Oyster Company Promises to Fight National Park Service Decision

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                CONTACT:

DECEMBER 3, 2012                                                                           Mary Beth Hutchins or Briton Bennett




“We are …fighting…against a federal government that seems to value lies over the truth and special interests over the welfare of a community,” – Kevin Lunny, owner, DBOC


MARIN COUNTY, CA – Drakes Bay Oyster Company (DBOC) Owner Kevin Lunny announces today a continued effort to fight for his family’s business that was shut down by the National Park Service on November 30.  Retaining the help of government accountability group Cause of Action as well as Stoel Rives LLP, DBOC released the following statement today from Kevin Lunny:

 “We have been a dedicated small family farm for four generations in the West Marin community and when we purchased Drakes Bay Oyster Company seven years ago, we saw an opportunity to revive a part of our community that would provide local jobs, sustainable products for local businesses, and a positive long-term impact on the Bay itself.

The National Park Service has not just shut down our business, but has misrepresented the law, our contracts with the State of California, and the results of scientific studies.

Our family business is not going to sit back and let the government steam roll our community, which has been incredibly supportive of us. We are exploring possible responses to the National Park Service and will be taking legal action against them soon.  We are not walking away, instead we are fighting for our community, our employees, and our family against a federal government that seems to value lies over the truth and special interests over the welfare of a community.”

Cause of Action’s Executive Director Dan Epstein explained why his organization is dedicated to this fight:

“Cause of Action fights federal agencies every day that are abusing their power, ignoring law and procedure, and wasting taxpayer dollars. We aim to hold the National Park Service accountable for their treatment of the Lunny family and the Drakes Bay Oyster Company as we view their actions as a disregard for law and precedent that demands accountability. We are working with the Lunny family on the best legal strategies moving forward.”


About Cause of Action:

Cause of Action is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that uses investigative, legal, and communications tools to educate the public on how government accountability and transparency protects taxpayer interests and economic opportunity. For more information, visit www.causeofaction.org.



To schedule an interview with Dan Epstein, Cause of Action’s Executive Director, contact Mary Beth Hutchins,  202-400-2721 or Briton Bennett, briton.bennett@causeofaction.org, at 202-499-4232.




The Colorado Observer: Watchdog Group: Salazar May Have Violated the Hatch Act

Read the full story here. Colorado Observer  

“Cause of Action, a Washington-based firm, said it asked to the Office of Special Counsel to evaluate Salazar’s activities and statements at a campaign event sponsored by the Montrose County Democratic Party on Oct. 5. Noting that Salazar reportedly told the participants the importance of re-electing President Obama, executive director Dan Epstein said the independent government agency should investigate the episode.

“(I)t appears Sec. Ken Salazar violated the Hatch Act in using his official capacity to campaign for the President. His behavior warrants attention and investigation by the OSC, as no violator of the Hatch Act should get away with such behavior,” Epstein said in a statement Wednesday…”

Hatch Act Violations and the Ethics Question

Last week, Cause of Action filed a formal complaint with the Office of Special Counsel regarding remarks by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar during several political rallies in the swing state of Colorado. A CoA investigation determined that Sec. Salazar, was potentially violating the Hatch Act of 1939—a law designed to keep government employees from using their title and position to influence the outcome of elections.

The potential violations from Salazar come only months after another CoA investigation revealed similar circumstances at the FAA, as well as a formal finding from the OSC that Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius was in violation of the Hatch Act.

The fact that so many Executive Branch employees are violating the Hatch Act must mean that something is awry.  Why does the President continue to ignore the laws that have been put in place to protect the integrity of the election system? Clearly, it is in the President’s best interest to allow his cabinet members to campaign on his behalf without recourse, but that certainly doesn’t mean it is legal.

Regardless of incentive or motivation, the President’s choices about the ethical and legal ramifications for members of his administration speak volumes. If he is unable to demonstrate integrity regarding proper punishment for law-breakers in the Executive Branch, then can he be trusted to uphold other laws?

At Cause of Action we are committed to continuing our fight for an open, honest, transparent government, and we strive to ensure that the American people get just that.

Data Quality Act Facts

Fact Sheet on DQA Complaint concerning the National Park Service

  • After substantial inaccuracies were identified in two publications published by the National Park Service (“NPS”) regarding Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s (“DBOC”) alleged impact on the environment, thereby threatening the reissuance of their operating permits, Dr. Corey Goodman and DBOC owners Kevin and Nancy Lunny and submitted a Complaint on Aug. 7, 2012 to NPS requesting corrections based on the grounds the information was scientifically flawed.
  • Relevant publications:
    • (1) Draft Environmental Impact Statement: Drakes Bay Oyster Company Special Use Permit (the “DEIS,” which purports to analyze the environmental impact of DBOC)
    •  (2) March 2012 Atkins North America, Final Report on Peer Review of the Science Used in the National Park Service’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement: Drakes Bay Oyster Company Special Use Permit (the “Atkins Report,” which assessed portions of the DEIS)
    • (3) Sept. 2012 Scientific Review of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Drakes Bay Oyster Company Special Use Permit (the National Research Council’s “Scientific Review Report,” which reviewed the data and methods used in the DEIS and Atkins Report)
    • Since the Lunnys have a limited term permit allowing for the operation of DBOC, which will expire on Nov. 30, 2012, they requested an expedited correction to the errors in the DEIS and Atkins Report.
    • On Oct. 3, 2012 NPS responded to a Complaint filed by Cause of Action (CoA) on behalf of the Lunnys and Dr. Goodman.
    • On Oct. 16, 2012 CoA issued an administrative appeal letter to NPS rebutting their objections to our complaint.

Summary of new activity:

On Oct. 16, 2012, CoA submitted a letter to Margaret O’Dell at the National Park Service appealing the response from NPS on Oct. 3. Essentially, NPS continues to ignore the rules for how complaints should be handled and instead marches forward without regard for their false scientific data that could shut down a family business in the Bay area.

CoA argues that despite its claims to the contrary, NPS is statutorily obligated to consider the complaint, as it was submitted in accordance with the procedures prescribed by Director’s Order 11B. Under that order and the Information Quality Act, NPS is required to adhere to specified information-quality obligations. It has failed to do so and has inaccurately claimed that it possesses discretion over which proposed corrections it will address.

On November 30, 2012, the Lunny family faces the loss of their business due to the refusal of the NPS to correct the DEIS. Corrections based on accurate science would benefit DBOC, the Bay area, Drakes Estero, and ultimately, the Park Service itself.

110799462-Final-Administrative-Appeal-Letter-to-NPS (1)

Department of the Interior

09/09/2011 – Regulatory Flexibility Act Compliance