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:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

California River Watch Sends Notice of Violations Under the Clean Water Act And Intent to File Suit to Drakes Bay Oyster Company

[Update: Read Lunny Grading and Paving "Notice of Violations" here.]

The California River Watch has sent Drakes Bay Oyster Company a notice of Clean Water Act violations noting their intent to file suit within 60 days. Unlike the shellfish processing plants operated by Taylor Shellfish in Washington, DBOC is not in possession of a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. As such there is no control over what DBOC may  discharge into Drakes Estero, the only shoreline wilderness on the west coast. (See one of Taylor Shellfish's NPDES permit here.)

Drakes Bay Oyster Company
Is this really compatible with wilderness?
"I'm an environmentalist." By whose definition?
This is not the first "notice of intent to sue" which Mr. Lunny has received. Earlier this year his "Lunny Grading and Paving" also received a "notice" from the California River Watch for alleged Clean Water Act violations. In that "notice" a variety of violations were described which were related to its operation of the Nicasio rock quarry. These are on top of violations which the California Coastal Commission described as "egregious."
Nicasio quarry operated by
Mr. Lunny's "Lunny Grading and Paving."
5400 Nicasio Valley Road, Nicasio, CA

Specific to the Nicasio quarry operation, the California River Watch alleges:
The General Permit requires storm water dischargers to comply with its terms, including adequate monitoring, reporting and implementation of BMPs [Best Management Practices]. From January 5, 2008 to January 5, 2013, Nicasio has been in violation of the Clean Water Act for its failure to: 1) comply with the General Permit; 2) make and record the required observations concerning stormwater discharges; and 3) implement BMPs using BAT [Best Available Technology] and/or BCT [Best Conventional Technology] to eliminate pollution in stormwater discharges from the site.  
River Watch alleges that Nicasio has not implemented BMP by not using BAT or BCT to control or eliminate its non-stormwater discharges. Nicasio is violating the General Permit by: (1) allowing materials other than storm water (non-storm water discharges) that discharge either directly or indirectly to waters of the U.S.; (2) causing or threaten to cause pollution, contamination, or nuisance; exceeding the specified effluent limitations identified above; (3) discharging storm water containing a hazardous substance equal to or in excess of a reportable quantity listed in 40 CFR Part 117 and/or 40 CFR Part 302; (4) failing to reduce or prevent pollutants associated with industrial activity in storm water discharges and authorized non-storm water discharges through implementation of BAT for toxic and non-conventional pollutants and BCT for conventional pollutants; (5) failing to development and implementation of an  SWPPP that complies with the requirements in Section A of the General Permit and that includes BMPs that achieve BAT/BCT constitutes compliance with this requirement; and (6) discharging storm water and non-storm water to surface or ground water which adversely impact human health or the environment. 

Corporate Environmentalism
Through the eyes of some the environmental impacts of the sort detailed by California River Watch in their Clean Water Act notifications sent to Mr. Lunny may not be "adverse." They are just "part of doing business." In part it is why Drakes Bay Oyster Company found the likes of Cause of Action, Senator Vitter and Representative "Doc" Hastings rushing to its support when their special use permit was not renewed. Allowing the only commercial operation within the designated wilderness area to continue operation would open the door for other extraction industries (energy/mining) to operate within wilderness areas. Mr. Lunny's quarry operation only helped tie the knot tighter.

If environmental regulations are able to be weakened to the point where Mr. Lunny's alleged violations are acceptable it will open broaden the definition of a new "Corporate Environmentalism" where impacts to the environment are less important than corporate profitability. It is a clear and simple strategy which with minimal effort is easily exposed.

Attempts by well paid Public Relations firms and lobbyists to portray what Mr. Lunny is dealing with as "government overreach" or "eco-McCarthyism" may find traction with some and most certainly helps in billing hours. It should not find traction with those who put future clean waters ahead of short-term profits.

Ending Operations is a One Time Event
Drakes Bay Oyster Company's attorneys may complain that ending ongoing commercial operations and removing the artificial structures is a significant event which must be avoided. What they do not point out is that removal of these structures and the ceasing of its commercial operations will be a one time event and then be over, resulting in a wilderness for everyone, instead of a profit center for one.

You can help support the California River Watch here.

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