Conservative Org, Backed By the Koch Brothers, Helping Fight for Drakes Bay Oyster Co.

Drakes Estero near Point Reyes.

It’s not just about oysters, folks. The ongoing legal battle involving Drakes Bay Oyster Company and U.S. Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar has wide implications for national parks across the West. It turns out, as the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat is reporting, that money from a Washington-based conservative source, possibly connected to the billionaire Koch brothers, is pouring in to help aid the small oyster farm in its fight. It seems that someone besides the Northern California oyster farm stands to benefit greatly from the wording of an upcoming 9th Circuit Court decision, which has implications for the ability of for-profit enterprise to conduct business on park land — of which there are millions of acres in the western United States. It’s still unclear who that is, and if it’s the Koch Brothers themselves. But Helen Grieco of California Common Cause, which is sounding alarm bells about this case, points to recent efforts to permit uranium mining near Grand Canyon National Park. The owners of the oyster farm got another reprieve last month, allowing them to remain in operation until at least mid-May, while the 9th Circuit considers their appeal. [Press-Democrat, Earlier, Earlier still]