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For Immediate Release, September 19, 2013

Contact:  Andrea Weber, (510) 409-8159, 

Giant Condor Puppet Joins Pinnacles National Park Protest Against Extreme Oil Production

Activists Rally on Saturday to Halt Planned Oil Field Near Calif. Park

PACINES, Calif.— Center for Biological Diversity activists carrying signs and a giant condor puppet will join San Benito Rising, the Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter, Indian Canyon and in a Saturday morning protest at the east entrance to Pinnacles National Park, aimed at drawing the line against dirty oil production in the area.

The event is part of a national day of action in which communities across the country “draw the line” against dangerous climate change — in particular, projects like the Keystone XL pipeline and a proposed major new oil development in the Salinas Valley watershed near Pinnacles.

“We’ve got to draw the line against this dangerous new oil field threatening Pinnacles National Park,” said David Hobstetter of the Center’s Climate Law Institute. “Extreme oil production planned for this area endangers California condors, as well as our state’s air, water and climate. It’s time to put our state’s health and environment ahead of oil-company profits.”

What: Pinnacles National Park “Draw the Line” Rally Against Climate Change and Extreme Oil Production
When:   Saturday, September 21 9:30 a.m. to noon
Where: Pinnacles National Park, East Entrance
5000 California 146
Pacines, CA

In July the Center filed a lawsuit challenging approval of a major new oil development in the Salinas Valley watershed. The 15 new oil wells approved by the county will use cyclic steam injection, a dangerous and polluting form of oil extraction that targets heavy crude. The new wells would be located not far from Pinnacles National Park, in an area used by California condors, which are critically endangered, along with other wildlife.

Cyclic steam injection — also known as “huff-and-puff” — is an oil-extraction technique applied to heavy-oil reservoirs to boost production. During the process the operator injects steam at very high temperature and pressure into the well. The well is then shut in, allowing the steam to heat up the surrounding formation, which thins the heavy oil so it can more easily flow toward, through and out of the well. Cyclic steam injection creates some of the harshest possible well conditions. The process can cause well failure, shifting and buckling of the ground, and unexpected eruptions of fluid and steam from the ground. In 2011 an oilfield worker was killed in Kern County in an accident related to cyclic steam production.

In California, fracking, acidization and cyclic steaming are common, extreme methods of oil extraction. The oil industry is expanding operations into areas previously inaccessible via conventional drilling means. is encouraging groups across the United States to “draw the line” on September 21 to protect our communities from climate change and reject the Keystone XL pipeline.  James Hansen, a leading climate scientist, has called the KXL a “carbon bomb” leading to irreversible climate change.

California has its own carbon bomb lying in wait in the Monterey Shale. The extraction, refinement and burning of that oil will contribute to the type of atmospheric warming that creates escalating climate catastrophes and a potentially unlivable future.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 625,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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