Decision about Drakes Bay oyster farming expected this week 

click to enlarge U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, right, looks over bags of oyster shells during a tour of Drakes Bay Oyster Company with owner Kevin Lunny, left, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 in Point Reyes National Seashore, Calif. The Interior Secretary is expected to decide next week whether to allow the 70-year-old oyster farm to continue operating in the national seashore. - AP PHOTO/ERIC RISBERG
  • AP Photo/Eric Risberg
  • U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, right, looks over bags of oyster shells during a tour of Drakes Bay Oyster Company with owner Kevin Lunny, left, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 in Point Reyes National Seashore, Calif. The Interior Secretary is expected to decide next week whether to allow the 70-year-old oyster farm to continue operating in the national seashore.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar visited Marin County last week on a fact-finding mission to decide the fate of a family-run oyster farm in the Point Reyes National Seashore.

Salazar met with the owners of the Drakes Bay Oyster Co. and toured its harvesting and canning operations before meeting with environmentalists and National Park Service officials.

The interior secretary is expected to decide this week whether to allow the oyster farm to continue operating in the national seashore. The company is seeking a 10-year extension of its lease, which expires Nov. 30.

Environmentalists and park officials say the oyster farm’s operations threaten nearby harbor seals and other native species. They want the waters of Drakes Estero returned to wilderness.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and the National Academy of Sciences have charged that the National Parks Service is trying to get rid of the oyster farm by exaggerating its negative impacts on the environment.

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