Aspen declares state of emergency due to gas outage
City is now under two emergency declarations; one for COVID-19 and the other for breach in natural gas system
The city of Aspen has declared a local disaster emergency in response to the natural gas outage that has kept residents and visitors without heat for the past few days.
Acting City Manager Scott Miller issued the declaration on Tuesday at 2:35 p.m., which creates a state of emergency for Aspen.
The declaration provides the city manager with the tools necessary to protect public health and safety, including the authority to, among other things, shelter vulnerable populations for multiple days and access properties to protect individuals from injury or damage, according to a news release from the city.
The declaration provides the city the ability to activate the response and recovery aspect of applicable local and inter-jurisdictional disaster and emergency plans for aid and assistance, officials said in the release.
As stated in the declaration, the city also faces the continuing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the constraints of the outage occurring during a holiday week.
The ongoing natural gas outage has created the potential for significant risk to the community’s safety and welfare based on the cold winter temperatures.
City officials believe the action will help to enact emergency action as needed to avert danger or damage.
The City Manager has the authority to issue a disaster emergency declaration for up to seven days. It must be confirmed and extended by Aspen City Council to be effective for longer than that.
Council will consider taking this action, if necessary, early next week, according to the news release.
This is the second emergency declaration that the city is under. City Manager Sara Ott signed the first one on March 12 in response to the first COVID-19 outbreak in Aspen, and the city remains under that state of emergency.