Drakes counsel seeks correction


As both sides in the battle over the future of Drakes Estero await a decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, legal counsel for Drakes Bay Oyster Company filed a letter with the court on Wednesday alleging that government lawyers made an incorrect assertion about the farm’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) during oral arguments two weeks ago. Drakes Bay counsel Peter Prows claims that government counsel incorrectly claimed that the final EIS responded to the farm’s criticisms about harbor seal data. Mr. Prows wrote to the Ninth Circuit that this was impossible because Drakes Bay “did not discover the misrepresentation until after the Final EIS had been made public and the Secretary had made his decision.” Government lawyer David Gunter responded to Mr. Prows: “To the extent I made a mistake in my argument, that mistake was not material and will have no bearing on the Court’s consideration of the case.” He argued that because former Drakes Bay counsel Amber Abbasi emphasized and reiterated that the farm did not see the data in question until after then-Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar made his decision, the court should be able to reach a reasonable conclusion. But Mr. Prows told the Light that the harbor seal data, which Drakes Bay says was fabricated, is too critical to be left unaddressed. “I think what we saw in the Ninth Circuit were a lot of questions about the scientific issues in this case,” he said. “It’s important to correct erroneous statements.”