Examples of Business Law and Ethics in the Buffalo Creek Disaster

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Logan County, West Virginia is home to a small area called the Buffalo Creek Hallow. Numerous towns sprang up over years in this coal rich creek since the boom of the mining industry. The year 1970 saw the most prosperous year for coal, the increased demand attracted new mining companies to set up shop at Buffalo Creek however a flood during a cold winter morning in 1972 changed the lives of the residents forever.

The coal mining history of Buffalo Creek can be traced back all the way to 1940s. At that time, Lorado Coal Mining Company opened Mine No.5 at the almost the top of the Buffalo hallow. The dumping of sludge from this mine was happening at the mouth of the middle fork. It functioned just like a dam and was viewed like one
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Just after Dam No. 3 started to show symptoms of collapsing, the Pittson Company sent a bulldozer to dig a drainage pitch in an attempt to alleviate some pressure.

At 7:45 AM, as the men were doing repair work, water started to flow down the valley. Multiple lives could potentially have been saved if residents of the Buffalo Hallow were informed of the potential disaster and magnitude of its occurrence. The Pittston Coal Company ignored warnings from all major government departments like the mining bureau, the National Guard, the State Police, and even the local sheriff’s office. At 7:59 AM, the dam officially collapsed and lead to major blasts as boiling yellow suffer coal deposits came in contact with rushing water from the stream. At 8:01 AM, a huge outburst of 130 million gallons of water stream swept away the whole Buffalo Creek and drifted along all the coal manufacturing waste with it. This tragedy claimed 123 lives, injured 1000 and also left 4000 people homeless. Alongside these statistics, the disaster left countless scars on the survivors and the citizens of West Virginia. In an attempt to absolve The Pittson Coal Company from any legal responsibility, company officials insisted the flood was “an act of God”. They argued that there absolutely nothing with the dam expect that it

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