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A Turtle Named Mack 20 January 2015 11:01 PM

The Oyster Shell Game
Two weeks before Christmas, in a serene Pacific inlet north of San Francisco, a small mountain of fresh oysters sat rotting in the rain. Kevin Lunny, the owner of the Drakes Bay Oyster Company, watched a yellow mini-dozer chug back from the waterfront, tip its shovel and, in a great clattering of shells, dump hundreds more onto the heap. After seven years of political and legal battles that have grown into one of the ugliest environmental fights in the country, this was the end of the line for Lunny’s oyster farm. "It's been a terrible time," said Lunny, who still lives on the nearby cattle ranch where he grew up and where his grandfather started a dairy farm in 1947. The forced closure of the oyster company marks the end, after almost 80 years, of modern shellfish farming in Drakes Estero, the tidal estuary that lies at the center of the dispute.

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