Aspen, CO – An intentional attack on gas lines has left 3,500 people without heat as the temperature is expected to plunge to near 0 degrees. Was the attack perpetrated by the ecoterrorist organization known as “Earth First!”? At this point the perpetrators are unknown. The attack is said to have taken place on Saturday.
Black Hills Energy is working nonstop to repair the damage and restore heat to Aspen, Colorado, but as of Tuesday, it was unclear how long it would take to restore the gas. The FBI’s critical infrastructure unit has joined the investigation.
Work crews are scrambling to restore gas service, and local authorities handed out electric space heaters to residents still without heat Tuesday, as a storm is forecast to bring up to 8 inches of snow in the Rocky Mountains region this week. Temperatures are forecast to fall to 2 degrees in Aspen on Tuesday night, according to the National Weather Service.
Aspen police said the apparently coordinated acts of vandalism occurred Saturday night at three separate Black Hills Energy gas line sites, one in Aspen and two elsewhere in Pitkin County.
At one of the targeted sites, police said they found the words “Earth first” scrawled, and investigators were looking into whether the self-described “radical environmental group” Earth First! was involved…
…Aspen Assistant Police Chief Bill Linn told reporters that the saboteurs appeared to “have some familiarity” with the natural gas system.
“They tampered with flow lines. They turned off gas lines,” Linn said.ABC news
The City of Aspen distributed about 6,000 space heaters to residents. Several businesses, including hotels and restaurants had to shut down due to the loss of gas.
The Earth First “Movement” of ecoterrorists was formed in 1979 as an alternative to other groups such as the Sierra Club. They claim there are no “members” of the group, just a movement. They were known to insert spikes in trees so that lumberjacks would be in danger from attempting to cut down trees. Whether or not they were the perpetrators of this intentional attack is at this point unknown.
Featured photo: screenshot via Instagram – City of Aspen distributes space heaters
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