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 17, 2013

Point Reyes National Seashore Wilderness: Part of the "Grand Plan" to eliminate farming in Marin and Sonoma Counties?

Update: It should be noted that Robin Carpenter only hosts a program on KWMR, but is not an employee of the station. The views and opinions expressed on her program are not necessarily those of the radio station, its funders or members.

Robin Carpenter

On June 17th, Amy Trainer, Executive Director of Environmental Action Committee of West Marin (EAC), was interviewed by Robin Carpenter on Marin County's independent non-profit radio station KWMR (scroll to June 17, click on play button, interview begins at 28 minutes), located at Point Reyes Station. Ms. Carpenter, a supporter of Drakes Bay Oyster Company's (DBOC) continued commercial operation in the Drakes Estero wilderness area, expressed concerns about whether EAC still represented the knot tying environmentalism to farming or if it was instead trying to eliminate farming on all of Point Reyes. [Note: If Ms. Carpenter is truly concerned about "discourse," collegial conversations and building relationships between farmers and others she may want to consider dropping her lead in song which implies the "city kids" are somehow "going to pay" because they don't have "fluffy dogs that smell like hogs."]

Amy Trainer
EAC Executive Director
In that interview Ms. Trainer was asked to address the belief by West Marin County farmers that allowing Drakes Estero to revert to the Congressionally designated wilderness was only part of what Phyllis Faber has described as a "Grand Plan" whose end goal was to eliminate farming in all of Marin and Sonoma Counties (see below).

Local Coastal Program Update
The interview began with a brief discussion about concerns expressed by EAC over amendments proposed to the Marin County Local Coastal Program. Ms. Carpenter expressed that the Farm Bureau felt EAC's letter was a surprise to which Ms. Trainer replied that it had only expressed a summary of concerns previously known. Among other points in that letter were concerns over the Farm Bureau's advocating for increased housing density:

Additionally, the Farm Bureau advocates that C-APZ-60 owners, in addition to one farm house, an agricultural home-stay or a bed-and-breakfast, and farm worker housing, should be allowed guest housing and second units as a Permitted Use, and two inter-generational homes for family members not engaged in agriculture on the property as a Principal Permitted Use.
Is a "Right Wing Agenda" causing a divorce in the family?
After addressing the Coastal Plan issue Ms. Carpenter then moved to the question of whether supporting DBOC's continued commercial operation in Drakes Estero was supporting a "right wing agenda" of expanding commercial operations within wilderness areas and whether that was causing a "divorce" between EAC and the Farm Bureau. At 44 minutes Ms. Trainer explained that EAC, most of its local members, and many others throughout the nation believe very strongly that preventing commercial operations within Drakes Estero is critical to the future integrity of other wilderness areas. If DBOC's commercial operation is allowed to continue it will open the door to other wilderness areas becoming developed. Following a discussion on whether oysters provide any filtering of significance and who will be responsible for overseeing the removal of oysters and associated gear, the interview ended with how EAC saw itself, with Ms. Trainer noting that EAC has always taken on what she describes as "the tough challenges." Included is strong support of the creation of the only shoreline wilderness area on the west coast.

Phyllis Faber
Part of the Grand Plan?
Response to the Trainer Interview - Part of a "Grand Plan"
In response to the 30 minute interview with Ms. Trainer, KWMR provided DBOC attorney Peter Prows, MALT co-founder Phyllis Faber, and Farm Bureau President Sam Dolcini 60 minutes to discuss DBOC and their perceived threat to agriculture its closure represented. In that interview, Ms. Faber, at 25:30 minutes, describes what she sees as the "Grand Plan" which starts with eliminating cattle on Point Reyes. In that "plan" she sees first, DBOC's commercial operation ending, followed by the Center for Biological Diversity coming along the shoreline to sample waters for pollution. There they will find nitrogen traced to cows which will result in the farmers being told "the cattle must go." She states that environmentalists "do not understand" what support for the Drakes Estero wilderness means. In her eyes it is that first the oyster farm will cease operation, then farming on Point Reyes will cease, followed by farming ending in all of Marin County, after which Sonoma County's farming will cease (28:34).
[Is this what the opening song for the 6/17 interview, "City Kids" refers to? In that song those "city kids" with TV's and "fluffy dogs which didn't smell like hogs" have seen the tables turn and "now they're gonna pay". As noted above, Ms. Carpenter should consider whether that really improves the dialogue she professes to believe in.]

Ideals should not diminish with time.
At 28:59 she states her fatalistic view: wilderness will never exist, and at 46:00 states people should just "be happy with the wildness the park does provide them" and to focus on something else, like climate change. How would she have felt if, when she was younger, she was told by developers in San Francisco that her idea of forming the Marin Agricultural Land Trust was a waste of time and she should instead focus on the ozone hole. Wilderness can still exist and ideals still drive actions.

Sam Dolcini, President
of the Marin County Farm Bureau
"continued pressure"

DBOC: Canary in a Coal Mine or an Egg about to Hatch?
Sam Dolcini, President of the Marin County Farm Bureau, at 35:50 uses a metaphor to describe what he sees as growing pressure on the agricultural community. In his eyes, the shifting views on agriculture represented by the closure of DBOC is an egg in the nest which is about to hatch, becoming a canary in a coal mine which will "go onto life support," something he sees as being "very scary." He feels the agricultural community is being given advice from a community (represented by EAC) who doesn't understand them.

Can't we all just get along? It's just a little oyster farm.
After DBOC accepted support from Cause of Action, David Vitter and Doc Hastings, the link to larger agendas was found to be harming efforts to continue operations in the shoreline wilderness area. Now a new shift scripted by others is attempting to create the current frame for the DBOC issue. Now it is  one of "can't we all just get along" and that there are more important things in the world than a wilderness area in Marin County for people to focus their energies on.

Statements by DBOC attorney Mr. Prows that support for the wilderness area Congress created is an "attack on this little oyster farm" and to go elsewhere only demonstrates a lack in understanding the larger picture of the importance wilderness plays in people's lives now, and more importantly, the role it will play for future generations. It is most certainly not an attempt to eliminate farming in Marin and Sonoma Counties. It can exist and it is worth fighting for.

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