Our mission is to protect the habitat of Puget Sound tidelands from the underregulated expansion of new and intensive shellfish aquaculture methods. These methods were never anticipated when the Shoreline Management Act was passed. They are transforming the natural tideland ecosystems in Puget Sound and are resulting in a fractured shoreline habitat. In South Puget Sound much of this has been done with few if any meaningful shoreline permits and with limited public input. It is exactly what the Shoreline Management Act was intended to prevent.

Get involved and contact your elected officials to let them you do not support aquaculture's industrial transformation of Puget Sound's tidelands.

Governor Inslee:

Friday, May 17, 2013

Drakes Bay Oyster Company: Attorney Who Worked for Koch Brothers Upset with PBS Report, Files Freedom of Information Request

Update: 5/23 - Cause of Action has withdrawn its FOIA request to PBS.
Updated 5/18: From a local Marin County resident - "my they are touchy, aren't they!"
5/17: from Cause of Action web site: "Today, Cause of Action submitted a FOIA request to PBS for the footage of interviews that went into this piece to determine if PBS misled viewers." 

What a tangled web ...

Cause of Action's executive director Dan Epstein, past attorney for a foundation run by one of the conservative Koch brothers, is apparently upset he was described as such by PBS ( “an attorney who once worked for a foundation run by one of the conservative activist Koch brothers”). In reaction Cause of Action has filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for footage of interviews, presumably under his direction as executive director. He is trying to understand why others mentioned (e.g., Tom Strickland and Amy Trainer) were not described with adjectives he sees fit.

Dan Epstein, past attorney
 for conservative Koch Brothers

(Prior to his current position at Cause of Action, and after working for the conservative Koch Brothers foundation, Mr. Epstein became a "Republican counsel for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is chaired by Obama administration critic Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)" (from Cause of Action web site). Representative Issa's reputation stands on its own conservative platform.)

Ms. Phyllis Faber
"Environmental activist" (per Mr. Epstein) is upset
she is now tied to Mr. Epstein's group.
which owns Point Reyes Light newspaper.
MMI was co-founded by Dr. Goodman.

In addition to his being upset with his past job description Mr. Epstein is also upset that Phyllis Faber is not happy with her now being tied to groups such as his Cause of Action who clearly view the Drakes Bay Oyster Company as a means to obtain resource extraction rights from other wilderness areas. In the PBS interview, Ms. Faber states she is:
“not happy to be on the same side as Cause of Action.”  In the May 1, 2013 NewsHour broadcast, Ms. Faber is quoted as stating, “I am very disturbed by that and I don’t agree with it at all. I think what they’re headed for is trying to use a commercial operation in a park – they want to establish that in other public, on other public lands and I think that’s terribly unfortunate.” [regrettably it was something she might have considered before filing a lawsuit against the California Coastal Commission for taking action against Drakes Bay Oyster's "egregious" ignoring of violations]  
Note: The CCC has filed suit against Drakes Bay Oyster Company. DBOC's reaction? It's "in retaliation" for all of the law suits filed on our behalf. A "how to respond" lesson learned from Mr. Epstein. (click here for article
Like Mr. Epstein being upset with the description of he and his past employers, he also feels Cause of Action was not described to Ms. Faber as it should have been. He claims the only reason Cause of Action became involved was over concerns about the quality of information developed, brought to his attention by Drakes Bay Oyster Company's Kevin Lunny and Dr. Corey Goodman. Apparently he was unaware it was something which shellfish attorney Billy Plauche wrote to the National Park Service about in August of 2007, as requested by the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association. (click here for 2007 letter)

Shellfish attorney Billy Plauche
who wrote to NPS about "information quality"
in 2007 for the PCSGA.

Mr. Epstein is certainly free to describe the reason for his actions however he wishes, but the fact is if this private commercial operation is allowed to operate in the designated wilderness it will set a precedent for how to dismantle the wilderness act and create a new "corporate wilderness" which benefits only private corporations or individuals, such as Mr. Epstein's past employer, the Koch Brothers.
Dr. Goodman (r) and Mark Dowie (l)

As an end note, if Mr. Epstein is truly concerned about unbiased press and government transparency he might consider exploring whether the local Point Reyes Light newspaper (owned by the Marin Media Institute which Dr. Goodman co-founded and which Phyllis Faber was also a director of) may be using unbiased adjectives in their reporting on Drakes Bay Oyster Company's problem, or how much money has been spent on water quality testing in Marin County using technology Dr. Goodman helped privatize (click here). More likely Mr. Epstein will continue to complain about the press and government overreach.

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