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Drakes Bay owners will file appeal with Supreme Court

The ongoing bid by Drakes Bay Oyster Co. to remain at Point Reyes National Seashore suffered another blow Tuesday after a federal appeals court denied requests for a rehearing.

But company owner Kevin Lunny says it’s not over yet for this year-old case pitting the family-owned oyster farm against the federal government, as he now plans to take it to the highest court in the land.

“We believe the court’s decision not to rehear our case is incorrect, and that the dissenting opinion … will prevail,” Lunny said in a statement following the recent ruling. “Because of that, we are requesting our case be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Tuesday’s denial by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco – a split ruling by three judges – marked the third time federal courts have rejected Lunny’s bid to continue harvesting $1.5 million worth of oysters a year from Drakes Estero, a federally protected 2,500-acre estuary.

In reaching Tuesday’s decision, appeals court Judge M. Margaret McKeown and Judge Algenon Marbley voted to deny Lunny’s request for a rehearing of the case before a panel of 11 judges, while Judge Paul J. Watford voted to grant the rehearing. The same three judges voted the same way in September, deciding 2-1 to uphold a federal district judge’s initial decision in February.


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