The Buffalo Creek Disaster Essay

3619 Words Aug 22nd, 2013 15 Pages
|the Buffalo Creek Disaster |
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A book by Gerald Stern

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|Prologue |
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|On the morning of the 26th February 1972 a coal company's massive coal-waste refuse pile which dammed a stream in middle fork hollow |
|collapsed in the Buffalo Creek Valley. Over 130 million gallons of water and waste material devastated Buffalo Creek's sixteen |
|communities. Over 125 people perished almost immediately, mostly women and children. There were over 4000 survivors but their 1000 |
|homes as well as most of their
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Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969 : it established federal standards in the construction of refuse piles and dams by coal companies but these standards only protected the coal miners (and not the public who lived around the coal mines) while he was working.
This act could not have been used since there were not employees on duty lost in the flood.
There was some basis for holding the State of WV responsible for the Buffalo Creek Disaster (BCD) since a WV statute prohibits the construction of any dam or other obstruction over 15 feet in height across any stream or watercourse without a prior determination by the State that it is safe. The State of WV had never agreed that Dam 3 (which was 60 feet high) was safe. The State was at fault for not enforcing its own laws. But Arch Moore, the Governor of WV blamed the trouble on the media, the “irresponsible” media that publicized these attacks. Governor Moore qualified the mediatization “an even greater tragedy than the accident itself”.

|Chapter three : “When in doubt, do the right thing” |
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A few days later, the BMC publicly announced that they would open claims offices in the valley to receive and process claims (“assess claims and evaluate losses”) but refused to admit responsibility for the disaster. WV statute law makes the maximum amount payable in wrongful
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