My response was only meant to communicate that had I signed a lease contract with the Department of Interior for 40 years (as I understand the current owner of Drakes did), then when the 40 years was up I would not insist on staying put (as I understand is the situation in this case). Now, if our discussion were to move from obligations under a signed contract to groups who get to determine land use, I would indicate that, in the case of this Bay, I would be on the side of the group(s) that prefer commercial use. As I said, these are two separate issues, and in my opinion, should not be treated as if they were one.
I sort of agree with both of you. If the contract to use the land was for a certain period, why should it get automatically renewed at the end of that time, when there might be other oyster farmers or would-be oyster farmers who'd like to get in on the action?
On the other hand, I don't think the government is trying to hold the oyster farmer to the terms of the contract so that they can open it up to healthy free market competition. It seems clear that they are just trying to force independent business out of the area, and why should they be allowed to do that? What valid claim or persuasive reasoning does the Interior Department have to justify keeping the land off the market?
Further complicating the issue, at least in a moral sense, is that when it comes right down to it I don't consider killing oysters (or other animals) to be an activity that anyone really has the right to engage in as a commercial pursuit when other reasonable and more ethical means of sustenance are available. But I also realize the world is a long ways from that level of moral awareness, and that any attempts to outlaw such activities on such a basis today would fail miserably and almost certainly cause more problems than they would solve. Even California's humanitarian-motivated ban on foie gras due to the cruel practices involved in its production seems sadly questionable in terms of its efficacy.
Operationally, the two issues are the same.
Finding a technical difference is divisive to no beneficial end.
If the Founders had agreed to such terms, we would kiss our Republic goodbye.
Obviously, the oyster farm is the most motivated entity and the lightning rod for the controversy. Separating it from
our interests, in the immediate circumstance, is a fool's enterprise.
Rather than promoting the terms of a bad contract for us and the oyster farm, we should be promoting its reversal with the oyster farm, unless we want to sink its current operator, in favor of a new operator.
We can stand with Salazar or with the oyster farm. We hang together or we hang separately. The idea that the farm will hang alone is a fatal illusion. The specifications of the hanging will be no consolation.