Park to fund new oyster review

05/17/2012

In the wake of mounting criticism over the integrity of science used to evaluate Drake’s Bay Oyster Company, the National Park Service has confirmed that it will fund an independent analysis by the National Academy of Sciences of the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the oyster farm. That analysis will be taken into consideration in the final statement, which will help determine Secretary Ken Salazar’s decision to renew or terminate the farm’s lease. A spokesperson for the Academy, Jennifer Walsh, said her agency is in “informal discussions” and a study had not yet formally begun. Park spokesperson Jeffrey Olson said there was not yet a timeframe in place for the research to commence, and that its nature would be determined by the Academy. Senator Dianne Feinstein initially made the request for an Academy review, including it in the conference report of the fiscal 2012 omnibus and asking the Academy to ensure that the park service’s draft EIS had a “solid scientific foundation.” Feinstein and others have accused park officials of falsifying data and misrepresenting science to oust the farm from the seashore.