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San Francisco Herring Association v. United States Department of Interior

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

December 18, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO HERRING ASSOCIATION, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, et al., Defendants.

ORDER REGARDING SUBJECT-MATTER JURISDICTION Re: ECF Nos. 31 & 37.

JON S. TIGAR, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff San Francisco Herring Association ("Plaintiff" or "SFHA") has brought this action against Defendants the U.S. Department of the Interior, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, the U.S. National Park Service ("N.P.S."), N.P.S. Director Jonathan Jarvis, and Golden Gate National Recreation Area General Superintendent Frank Dean ("Defendants"). First Amended Complaint ("FAC"), ECF No. 17. The parties have filed cross-motions for summary judgment on the issue of whether the Department of the Interior has jurisdiction to prohibit commercial fishing within the navigable waters of San Francisco Bay that are within the boundaries of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area ("the waters in question"). Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment on the Issue of Jurisdiction ("Defendants' Motion"), ECF No 31; Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment ("Plaintiff's Opp./Cross-Motion"), ECF No. 37.

In their opposition and reply brief, Defendants argued that 28 U.S.C. § 2401(a)'s ("Section 2401") limitations period, and the Quiet Title Act ("QTA"), PL 92-562, 86 Stat. 1176 (Oct. 25, 1972), deprived the Court of subject-matter jurisdiction. The Court held a hearing on December over this action. As discussed in the Court's December 5 notice, the Court will set further hearing on the merits of this case after providing an opportunity for the State of California to express its views on certain issues the Court may address in reaching the merits of Plaintiff's claims. Notice Regarding December 12, 2013 Hearing, ECF No. 64.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Statutory History

In 1916, Congress enacted the N.P.S. Organic Act. Ch. 408, § 1, 39 Stat. 535 (Aug. 25, 1916), codified at 16 U.S.C. § 1 et seq. In states, in part, that the N.P.S. shall:

[P]romote and regulate the use of the Federal areas known as national parks, monuments, and reservations hereinafter specified... by such means and measures as conform to the fundamental purpose of the said parks, monuments, and reservations, which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.

16 U.S.C. § 1.

In 1972, Congress established the Golden Gate National Recreation Area ("GGNRA") as an area of the National Park System, by enacting the GGNRA Enabling Act ("the GGNRA Act"). Pub. L. No. 92-589, 86 Stat. 1299 (1972), codified at 16 U.S.C. § 460bb-1 et seq.

One provision of the GGNRA Act, entitled "Acquisition, " states that:

Within the boundaries of the recreation area, the Secretary [of the Interior] may acquire lands, improvements, waters, or interests therein, by donation, purchase, exchange or transfer. Any lands, or interests therein, owned by the State of California or any political subdivision thereof, may be acquired only by donation.

16 U.S.C. § 460bb-2(a). The immediately subsequent provision, entitled "Administration, " states that:

The Secretary shall administer the lands, waters and interests therein acquired for the recreation area in accordance with the provisions of sections 1, 2, 3, and 4 of this title, as amended and supplemented, and the Secretary may utilize such statutory authority available to him for the conservation and management of wildlife and ...

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