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Supreme Court declines to hear Point Reyes oyster farmer's case

Point Reyes oyster farmer vows to fight on, even after Supreme Court declines to hear his case

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up the case of the oysterman who has waged a years-long fight to continue operating at Point Reyes National Seashore.

The decision was the last chance for Kevin Lunny to undo the decision of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that then-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar had appropriate discretion when he opted not to renew Lunny’s permit in 2012 and order the oyster farm to close.

Lunny vowed to continue fighting, although it was not immediately clear what legal avenues were available. Neither he nor his attorney specified what would be next and a spokesperson for the Justice Department said only that a meeting was scheduled for next Monday in district court.

“Today we’ve been delivered news that disappoints, but we’ll get over it,” Lunny said. “It’s not over until the last oyster is shucked.”

Lunny, whose family has been ranching in the park for generations, bought the Drakes Bay Oyster Company in 2005 and took over the existing permit with the National Park Service that was set to expire in 2012.

The waters in Drakes Estero are, by law, supposed to convert to marine wilderness once the commercial operation is removed.

Lunny has fought to extend the lease, but Salazar’s decision removed that option. A number of legal appeals have allowed Lunny to continue operating the business for a year-and-a-half past the deadline to leave.

The National Park Service declined to comment.

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