SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court refused Monday to consider the appeal of a popular oyster farm that federal officials want to shutter and return to wilderness along the coast of Northern California.
The justices without comment left in place lower court rulings against Drakes Bay Oyster Co.
The owners said later at a news conference in San Francisco that they would keep fighting to stay in business.
"It's not over until the last oyster is shucked," Kevin Lunny said.
Lunny said he and his lawyers are considering several options but didn't specify their next step to keep the oyster farm operating and its workers on the job along Point Reyes National Seashore, north of San Francisco.
Lunny said pursuing a legislative solution is one option because Congress could override the Department of Interior and issue the farm a permit.
Lower courts have allowed the farm to keep operating through the appeals process.
The case began in 2007 when the Department of Interior made it clear it would not renew the oyster farm's 40-year lease when it expired in 2012. The agency cited a 1976 Congressional decision to return the waters of Drakes Estero to wilderness status.
The department also cited research critical of the operation's effects on harbor seals, which use the estuary to reproduce.
Scrutiny of the research, however, unearthed errors and omissions that critics say showed park officials had an agenda to get rid of the oyster farm.