The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Tuesday said it wouldn’t appoint a special 11-judge panel to reconsider the ruling of a three-judge panel.
The three-judge panel ruled 2-1 in September that the federal government had legal authority to deny Drakes Bay Oyster Co. a new lease so the waters of the Drakes Estero could be returned to wilderness.
The small oyster farm is challenging a decision by former U.S. Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar in 2012 to refuse the lease extension.
The oyster farm’s last remaining legal option is to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In a prepared statement, Kevin Lunny, the owner of Drakes Bay Oyster Co. wrote, "We believe the Court’s decision not to rehear our case is incorrect, and that the dissenting opinion from Judge Watford will prevail." He added, "Because of that, we are requesting our case be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court."
Oyster farm spokeswoman Tina Walker said, “We strongly disagree” with the denial of a rehearing.
The private company grows oysters on 1,000 acres of submerged land in Drakes Estero, an estuary of Drakes Bay, and packages them on 1.5 acres of land along the shoreline. It says it produces more than a third of all oysters grown in California.