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Enviro compared fracking supporters to Assad’s chemical weapons scientists

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor

An environmental activist responded to a pro-fracking op-ed by comparing drilling supporters to the scientists that worked on chemical weapons for Syria’s dictator.

“I am so happy to hear that the oil and gas industry was a blessing to your family,” wrote Zev Paiss, co-owner of the PR firm that runs the environmental group Frack Free Boulder, in the comments section of the article.

“There are always going to be people who seriously benefit from any situation,” Paiss added. “The scientists and their families who work on weapons of mass destruction depend on that regular paycheck too.”

Paiss’s remarks come as cities across norther Colorado are set to vote on whether or not to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the area. Diane Banning, the author of the Denver Post op-ed, wrote that the ban would hurt thousands of workers and their families, including her own.

Banning was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 after becoming a single mother who had two daughters to support. She was deeply in debt and had no health insurance. Her life turned around after she began working for the oil and gas industry. However, banning oil and gas drilling in the northern part of the state would hurt families, she writes.

“There are tens of thousands of Colorado families just like mine, and many single mothers, who depend on oil and gas jobs to put food on the table, pay the bills, get health care, save for college and plan for retirement,” Banning writes.

Environmental groups have been pushing for localities to ban fracking in Colorado and are also pursuing a statewide moratorium on the issue. Activists argue that fracking can harm air and water quality.

Frack Free Colorado has a campaign to stop fracking in the state and has been successful in getting three cities — Boulder, Broomfield, Fort Collins and Loveland — to put a drilling moratorium on their November ballots. The group was also successful in getting a complete ban on fracking in the city of Lafayette’s ballot.

Environmentalists have put up huge amounts of funding in their anti-fracking campaign. According to the Washington Examiner, national environmental groups with more than $50 million in combined annual budgets have been highly active in the Centennial State.

“My industry isn’t perfect, but we are safe, closely regulated, and led by geologists, engineers and other professionals who love Colorado and love raising their families here,” Banning continued. “When the activists say ‘ban fracking,’ they are really saying our jobs, and our families, don’t belong in Colorado, and that other Colorado families should accept higher energy bills and a weaker economy.”

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