Drakes Bay Wins: Court Overturns California Coastal Commission Orders Against Oyster Farm

Commission abused its discretion and violated environmental law

INVERNESS, CALIF. — Drakes Bay Oyster was vindicated today in its fight against unjust enforcement orders imposed last year by the California Coastal Commission. The Marin County Superior Court overturned those orders in every significant respect, finding that the Commission’s unfair process was an abuse of discretion and a violation of environmental law.

The enforcement orders were based on false allegations for which there was no evidence. Before a hearing last February, expert evidence disproving the allegations was provided by the Lunnys, but the Commission voted to exclude all the evidence the Lunnys presented in their own defense.

“This is a good day for California,” said Phyllis Faber, a Marin County environmental activist and biologist who was a founding member of the Commission. “The Coastal Commission had seriously abused its power. It was necessary to hold them accountable.”

Now that the Commission’s unfair enforcement orders have been overturned, the oyster farm and the Commission can get back to working on a permit for the farm.

Drakes Bay’s lawsuit against the Coastal Commission is separate from its suit against the National Park Service, which is currently pending at the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court could decide as soon as Monday whether to take Drakes Bay’s case.