A few days ago, Aspen Fire and Black Hills gas began an investigation into a natural gas outage in the Aspen area in Colorado and found that the outage was not an accident, but was intentional.
As reported by the Aspen Times, the name of a radical environmental advocacy organization was scrawled Saturday on a pipe at a natural gas pumping station near Aspen that was vandalized.
It was not clear Monday whether members of the “Earth First!” group were involved in the intentional disruption of gas service to the Aspen area — which resulted in thousands of people living without heat or hot water — but the name was found at one of three Black Hills Energy sites vandalized, said Bill Linn, Aspen assistant police chief.
“They would have had to have some familiarity with the system” to pull off the sabotage, Linn said. “They tampered with flow lines. They turned off gas lines.”
Emails sent Monday to the Earth First! Organization seeking comments were not immediately returned.
Linn said police have not received any communication from Earth First! taking credit for the gas line incidents.
Aspen police officers responded to the location along with Black Hills employees and “recognized it had been physically tampered with,” he said. Not long after, Pitkin County sheriff’s deputies responded to a call at a natural gas station outside the city limits in the county.
Details about that incident were not available Monday, though Linn said the “Earth First!” graffiti was written on a pipe at the station in the county.
A total of three locations were vandalized, two in the city and one in the county, Linn said. At two locations, the gas valves were not located in buildings, while the third was housed inside a building that was burglarized, he said. All had “security measures” in place that were tampered with.
“Locks were defeated,” Linn said.
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