The Interior Department is on a roll — a steamroll over American jobs at the expense of common sense, sound science, and integrity in government. Earlier this week, I called attention to the 9.6 million acre land grab masquerading as a northern spotted owl rescue that will cost thousands of timber-related jobs, while subsidizing the shooting of a different species of owl to save the other.
Yesterday, loathsome cowboy/Interior Secretary Ken Salazar administered another blow to the economy. He announced he would not renew the lease of a popular family oyster farm at Point Reyes National Seashore in California that has been in business for four generations. The move ushers in the end of more than a century of shellfish production.
The decision will allow the National Park Service to turn the picturesque bay where Sir Francis Drake landed more than 400 years ago into California’s first federally designated marine wilderness area.
Salazar made his decision a day before the 40-year lease allowing Drakes Bay Oyster Co., to harvest shellfish in the estuary expires and one week after visiting the site.
“After careful consideration of the applicable law and policy, I have directed the National Park Service to allow the permit for the Drakes Bay Oyster Company to expire at the end of its current term and to return the Drakes Estero to the state of wilderness that Congress designated for it in 1976,” Salazar said in a statement. “I believe it is the right decision for Point Reyes National Seashore and for future generations who will enjoy this treasured landscape.”
As usual, the decision is tainted by cronyism and book-cooking. I reported on the ethics mess related to the government’s targeting of Drakes Bay Oyster Co. in February:
–Take Obama’s head of the National Park Service, please. While serving as the Pacific West regional director of the NPS, Jon Jarvis was accused of at least 21 instances of scientific misconduct (pdf) by Dr. Corey Goodman, a high-ranking member of the National Academy of Sciences. Extensive information about Jarvis’ alleged role in cooking data about a California oyster farm’s impact on harbor seals at Point Reyes was withheld during the 2009 nomination process. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has ignored complaints and follow-up from both Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Republican Sens. James Inhofe and David Vitter.
The National Research Council determined that the NPS had “selectively” slanted its report on the oyster farm. The federal Marine Mammal Commission found that “the data and analyses are not sufficient to demonstrate a causal relationship” between the farm’s operations and harbor seal health. In a letter blasting the NPS for bullying the small oyster farm, Feinstein — normally a reliable eco-ally — concluded earlier this month that the “crux of the problem is that the Park Service manipulated science while building a case that the business should be shuttered.”
Given Salazar’s own role in manipulating science while building his case for the White House offshore drilling moratorium — actions for which several federal judges spanked Salazar in the past two years — it’s no wonder he’s looking the other way. Remember: Two years ago, Salazar and former Obama eco-czar Carol Browner falsely rewrote the White House drilling ban report to wholly manipulate the Obama-appointed panel’s own overwhelming scientific objections to the job-killing edict.