Skip to comments.Issa Probes Park Service Science Used to Shut Down Oyster Farm
Posted on 11/01/2011 1:22:58 PM PDT by IbJensen
A leading congressional Republican is investigating whether the National Park Service (NPS) committed scientific misconduct in its effort to shut down a century-old oyster farm over claims that it threatens the local seal population. Rep. Darrell Issa (R.-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is demanding that the Interior Department turn over certain documents to his panel to determine whether faulty information will close the Drakes Bay Oyster Company (DBOC), which operates in Californias Point Reyes National Seashore.
It has come to my attention that scientific misconduct by National Park Service personnel may be jeopardizing the right of a small business to operate in Marin County, California, Issa said in an Oct. 20 letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
Allegations that NPS knowingly relied on flawed science to support that conclusion as part of an effort to remove DBOC have come from a wide range of stakeholders and disinterested parties, Issa said.
If true, NPS will have closed the doors of a family-owned small business without a valid scientific basis, Issa said. The science used to suggest oyster farming would have a substantial impact to Drakes Estero [estuary] ecosystem has also been called into question by the National Research Councilpart of the National Academies that also includes the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine.
The May 2009 report found a lack of strong scientific evidence that the oyster operation had major adverse environmental effects. Furthermore, National Park Service reports never achieved a rigorous and balanced synthesis of the impacts from oyster farming in the estero, said the councils statement about their report.
The council suggested a detailed camera record would help resolve the controversy and determine whether oyster boats disturbed harbor seals during the breeding season.
Unbeknownst to the [council] panel, the NPS had maintained a secret camera system in the area since 2007, Issa said. The cameras took minute-by-minute pictures during the pupping season for three years, but they failed to disclose the photos or logs in their efforts to close the oyster farm, creating the appearance of a coverup, Issa said.
According to a report from the Interior Departments solicitor's office, the photos show no evidence the farming methods harmed the seals.
Kenny Lunny purchased the oyster farm in 2007 from the Johnson Oyster Company, but the 40-year lease expires next year, and some congressional Democrats are pushing for Drakes Estero to be designated as an official wilderness area, which would conflict with oyster harvesting operations.
Issa is demanding the agency turn over correspondence from the solicitor's office, which investigated the science used by the park service, and other documents related to the departments Environmental Impact Statement.
Additionally, Issa is asking that more than a half-dozen Interior officials agree to committee interviews beginning next week. In this matter, the alleged misconduct is serious, and it could result in the loss of the Lunny Family business, which employs a number of local residents, Issa said.
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This is an important story, but I hope that Rep. Issa doesn’t lose focus on Fast & Furious. Keep your eyes on th eprize, Darryl.
Bump and dittoes. Would that we had 30 Darryl Issas.
I’m likin’ Darrell Issa more every week!
It’s long past time that someone started looking critically at the ‘science’ that regulatory agencies (especially the EPA, but all are guilty..) use to rationalize their draconian power grabs....
And, no, the courts haven’t proven to be an effective venue for this, as even our nominally ‘conservative’ USSC has come down in the Regulators’ favor in several important cases....
Would make a good President... (Issa)
Rep. Issa is a very busy man indeed!
He is truly doing the job for the American people and I sincerely wish he were running for President of the USA!
We desperately need more Issas and no Lugars, Grahams, Snowes, or that other clone of Olympia’s whose name escapes me now!
You just have to wonder what’s going on with all the other committees of the House. There is just corruption at every turn with the FUBO Admin, that one would think they would be encroaching in areas covered by other committees.
Just another reason, after we boot obama’s rear end out in 2012, not to forget to take the rest of the democrat garbage out that has infested our government.
All of the so-called land “management” agencies are after power and land grabs. Park service and Fish and game are the worst. I know someone that worked in their new, huge, grandiose training center in West Virginia (more pork thanks to Sheets) and he said they would train all of their field people in how to handle the press and local authorities (how to spin everything). They even had a television studio where they would practice having news conferences, etc.
This is nothing but massive land and property theft. Time to go back to the Constitution, they can own military bases and post offices and roads, the rest belongs to the people!
Its so bad in Alaska, that 98.5% of the land is claimed by the Goobermint! Land prices are crazy, cause in a state that is two and a half times the size of Texas, there is no where left to live.
The Oyster Industry is a big business here on Humboldt Bay as it is the #1 producer in Calif...