The Buffalo Creek flood was a disaster that occurred on February 26, 1972, when the Pittston Coal Company's coal slurry impoundment dam #3, located on a hillside in Logan County, West Virginia, burst, four days after having been declared "satisfactory" by a federal mine inspector. Investigations and complaints in the late 1960s revealed that Dam 1 and Dam 2 were both constructed without permits. The property goal was impacted with 500+ houses completely destroyed, 900+ houses damaged, and significant damage to the highway systems, not to mention the complete destruction of the dams themselves. View Page At ... he also confessed to taking an unknown monetary payment from Pittston Coal for the settlement of the West Virginia's case against Pittston. The Buffalo Creek Disaster . Buffalo Creek Disaster Rough Draft The buffalo creek disaster is one of the worst coal mining incidents in the history of the united states. The Book Buffalo Creek disaster written by Gerald Stern is an expose on the wrongdoings of the NewYork based Pittston company but also a summation of the events leading to the 13.5-million-dollar settlement awarded to the victims. Start studying Buffalo Creek Disaster. At this stage, all solutions are considered and put on the Cause Map. The analysis can continue by asking Why questions and moving to the right of either of the cause-and-effect relationships above. Each step will be discussed below. The Buffalo Creek flood led to the development of more rigorous State and Federal mine safety regulations. It is easier to identify many possible solutions from the detailed Cause Map than an oversimplified high level analysis. Pittson Coal set to work building a larger dam, Dam No. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Federal mining regulations and inspections were strengthened, as were the penalties for safety violations. All Rights Reserved. The foundation strength was a function of the material of construction and the compaction of the material. In the late 1950’s the Lorado Mining Company, predecessor of the Buffalo Mining Company, had obtained a permit from the state to construct an alternate filter technology to process the sludge material, however the alternate process had never been constructed. The water removed from Dam #3 was by design, a 24″ diameter outflow pipe located 7-8 ft below the top of the dam. While Pittson Coal avoided criminal charges, three civil lawsuits filed by the flood survivors were successful. Canadian Mining Scandals; Coal Mining; Mining Safety and Health. The volume of water is a function of both the water added and the water removed. In this case the Buffalo Creek Flood of 1972 is captured as an example of the Cause Mapping method. The Buffalo Creek Disaster: How the Survivors of One of the Worst Disasters in Coal-Mining History Brought Suit Against the Coal Company- And Won Arnold & Porter served as counsel to Clarence Earl Gideon in the landmark case of Gideon v. Wainwright , subject of the Edgar Award -winning book Gideon's Trumpet by Anthony Lewis . The analysis step is where the incident is broken down into causes which are captured on the Cause Map. Governor Arch A. Moore, Jr., on March 1, 1972, appointed an ad hoc commission to investigate the Buffalo Creek disaster, to try to find the causes and origins, to determine if conditions existed elsewhere in the state for a similar disaster, and to recommend legislative actions to prevent such disasters … Buffalo Creek Disaster Paper ...Buffalo Creek: Disaster Appropriation The Buffalo Creek Disaster in February of 1972 was, in no manner of exaggeration, a horrific and awful event. The three steps are 1) Define the problem, 2) Conduct the analysis and 3) Identify the best solutions. The 21 recommendations made by the Citizens’ commission regarding the Buffalo Creek Disaster include (Erikson, 1976): Prosecuting the Buffalo Mining Pittston Company in front of a grand jury for their negligence; The state suing the company for the damages to roads and brides Choose from 44 different sets of Buffalo Creek Disaster Stern flashcards on Quizlet. Nevertheless, two civil lawsuits filed against Pittson by the flood survivors yielded favorable verdicts and damage awards of $13.8 and $4.8 million respectively. The commissions determined that Pittson Coal utilized improper dam engineering and construction techniques, and failed to adequately inspect or maintain the three dams along Buffalo Creek. 3 collapsed, releasing 132 million gallons of water, coal waste, silt and other debris. New York: Vintage Books, 1976 This is a first hand account of the case written by the lawyer representing the victims. Upon completion of the book The Buffalo Creek Disaster, please write a 1,800 – 2,000-words paper discussing what you read, along with the issues that existed in this case, and the process that took place in order for the dispute to be resolved through our judicial system. On July 12, 1996, an intense thunderstorm poured 2.5 inches of rain onto the Buffalo Creek … Gerald M. Stern, The Buffalo Creek Disaster (New York, 1976). Join US for the next Cause Mapping Root Cause Analysis Public Workshop ONLINE on Jan 26-28! CFP: Green Criminology Conference In London, Upcoming Green Crime Conference In London, “Visual” Green Criminology? 3, and willfully disregarded safety concerns about Dam No.3 and two smaller dams. The Lorado Coal Company opened the coal mine on the middle fork of Buffalo Creek in 1945. 2. On February 26, 1972, a huge earthen dam constructed by a coal company without any engineering input collapsed. It is evident that the coal mining company was responsible for the Buffalo Creek disaster. Site Version 1.04. Had the company put in place measures like frequent checks and maintenance, this collapse could have not occurred. Each step will be discussed below. Bring Cause Mapping® Root Cause Analysis training to your site, Online Cause Mapping Training Subscription, Cause Mapping® Certified Facilitator Program. He went on to represent the Scotia widows of a mine collapse in Kentucky. The three Buffalo Creek impoundments combined measured less than 500 acre-feet. Unformatted text preview: The Buffalo Creek Disaster Writing Assignment (50 Points) Business Law, Public Policy, and Ethics (GBL 295‐Section 14) Michigan State University Students will read The Buffalo Creek Disaster and write a reflection incorporating a discussion of ethics.The purpose of this assignment is for students to think critically about ethics and law. This was another defect of a non-engineered dam. The labor goal was impacted due to the extensive resources required for clean-up and recovery efforts. 2 and obliterated the small town of Saunders, West Virginia, located just south of the mining site. Rebuilding A Community: The Buffalo Creek Case. The coal refuse dams today, many of which date back before the Buffalo Creek disaster, measure 20,000 acre-feet. Buffalo Creek Disaster. Seven were never found. This book provides a good description of many aspects of civil process, but it also raises questions about the use of courts to achieve justice for powerless people. Buffalo Creek Disaster. In this paper, I will discuss, the history of judge’s decision in cases where minorities and lower class were involved, the history of the wage income and education rate in West Virginia, and how law affects lower class communities. This is because the Pittston Company, responsible for the disaster, was made to pay for the property loss, human loss, and other material damages. The flood is necessary to produce the effect of people drowning, but it is not, on its own, sufficient to produce the effect. 1 and No. Negligent strip mining and heavy rain produced a raging flood. The commission reports noted that West Virginia’s lax regulations, inspection policies and penalties for mine safety violators contributed to the Buffalo Creek disaster. First we ask four basic questions: What is the problem? Worse than a tornado or an earthquake because it was completely and utterly avoidable; an example of corporate greed that needed to be atoned for. Gerald Stern, from the time he had accepted the case, in my opinion, was out for establishing justice. The Buffalo Creek Disaster: How the survivors of one of the worst disasters in coal-mining history brought suit against the coal company--and won: Stern, Gerald M.: 9780307388490: Books - Amazon.ca This is where the necessary and sufficient logic is applied to the cause map. The Cause Mapping method focuses on the basics of the cause-and-effect principle so that it can be applied consistently to day-to-day issues as well as catastrophic, high risk issues. (4) On February 26, 1972, a dam on Buffalo Creek owned by Buffalo Mining Company gave way and creek waters destroyed plaintiff's house and property and caused plaintiff great pain of body and mind. // The people being in the path of the flood waters is also required to produce that effect. When a coal slurry impoundment dam owned by the Pittston Coal Company gave way under the pressure of heavy rains on February 26, 1972, a 30-foot-high wall of coal-black waste water devastated sixteen different towns throughout the Buffalo Creek hollow of Logan County, West Virginia. In this example we’ll start with the 125 fatalities which were a result of people drowning. The Buffalo Creek Disaster, February 26, 1972. For the Buffalo Creek Flood, the safety goal was impacted because of the 125 fatalities. 1, across the middle fork of Buffalo Creek to contain the wastewater, sludge and refuse from their mining operation. The Cause Map starts by writing down the goals that were affected as defined in problem outline. All Rights Reserved. The firm also represented the survivors of the Buffalo Creek Flood , which was the subject of the book Buffalo Creek Disaster , by Gerald M. Stern (required reading in many law schools). New York: Simon & Schuster, 1976. In late February 1972 a coal waste impoundment dam along the Buffalo Creek in Logan County, West Virginia collapsed. In 1965, Lorado Coal sold the Buffalo Creek mine to the Buffalo Mining Company. The disaster at Buffalo Creek remains one of America’s most … And how did it impact the goals? Human relationships in this community had been derived from traditional bonds of kinship and neighborliness. Public Service Commission and Water Resources Division inspectors checked the dams but nothing happened. Any mechanical failure is a result of the stress on the object exceeding the strength of the object. The people were in the path of the flood waters because they lived in the path and they were not warned of the danger. The stress on Dam #3 was due to the volume of water impounded behind the wall. Professor Philip G. Schräg (Georgetown Standard practice for coal mine operations was to dispose of mine refuse, excess water and other debris wherever was most convenient. Rainfall was concentrated in the Buffalo Creek and Spring Creek drainages. In a few short minutes, the dam virtually disappeared, and a torrent of water began a 17-mile trip down the narrow Buffalo Creek valley in rural Logan County, West Virginia. In this case, the safety goal was impacted due to 125 fatalities. The enactment and enforcement of this law addressed many of the causes of the Buffalo Creek Flood. People drowned due to the flood, which was caused by Dam #3 failing. I am neither the first nor the only teacher using Buffalo Creek materials to supplement a civil procedure course. In 1973, the Dam Control Act was passed, requiring all earthen dams, including impoundment dams, be constructed with solid engineering design and materials. One of worst floods in US occurred here 26 February 1972, when Buffalo Mining Co. impoundment dam for mine waste broke, releasing over 130 million gallons of black waste water: killed 125; property … The resulting flood killed 125 people and caused over $50 million in damage. Upon completion, Dam No. Erikson, Kai. – The Green Criminology Monthly #13 – September 2013, Special Critical Criminology Issue With New Green Crim Article. Step 1. A third civil suit, State of West Virginia v. Pittson Coal Company, sought $100 million in damages on behalf of the citizens of the Buffalo Creek Valley and the state, which hoped to recoup funds spent on recovery efforts following the flood. This had been the most powerful case Gerald Stern had ever worked on. We continue to ask “Why” questions to develop the Cause Map. no comments. February 5, 1968 Buffalo Creek resident wrote the Governor of West Virginia about her fears that the dam would collapse. company who operated the Buffalo Creek site. However, West Virginia authorities did not shut down the mining operation. In the wake of the flood, 125 people were dead, or missing, including entire families, 4,000 people were injured or homeless and over $50 million in damage had been caused. October 14, 2012 Solutions can be documented directly on the Cause Map. // Loss of communality at Buffalo Creek. Partial dam failures during Pittson Coal’s ownership of the Buffalo creek mine occurred in 1971 and 1972; however, the mine remained opened. This is the first cause-and-effect relationship in the analysis. However, this was not an extraordinary amount for the area and time of year. Because of the magnitude of the impact to the safety goal, we will focus our discussion on the cause map build from the safety goal. The survivors of the Buffalo Creek disaster suffered both individual and collective trauma, the latter being reflected in their loss of communality. The resulting flood killed 125 people and caused over $50 million in damage. This was a historical practice in the coal mining industry in order to reduce the costs of hauling away the unusable byproduct. A West Virginia grand jury failed to criminally indict Pittson Coal. The Buffalo Creek disaster encouraged the state of West Virginia to bolster oversight and mine safety regulations, culminating in passage of the Dam Control Act. The resulting mix of saturated and water resistant soils increased the flood risk when they could not absorb any more water. Disaster at Buffalo Creek. The steps of Cause Mapping are the same, but the level of detail is different. In a matter of minutes, 118 were dead and over 4,000 people were left homeless. The overall theme in the book, The Buffalo Creek Disaster, is one of complexity. Buffalo Creek Disaster Book Review “Oyez, oyez, oyez” The law comes to life like never before in The Buffalo Creek Disaster written by Gerald M. Stern. You will want to make sure that you See Part III, infra. The strength of Dam #3 was a function of the material of construction and the foundation. In this case, the dam existed in order to manage the sludge waste produced at the coal preparation plant. The Adobe Acrobat file available below contains copies of original documents used in the Buffalo Creek civil case. The Buffalo Creek disaster occurred in Logan County, West Virginia on 26 February 1972 when water and coal mining refuse burst through a dam owned by the Buffalo Mining Company, a subsidiary of the Pittston Coal Company. Define the Problem. // After the analysis is complete, the best solutions are selected based on the impacts to the organization’s goals. In 1970 Buffalo Mining sold to the Pittson Coal Company, which took over the Buffalo Creek mine. It was estimated at the time of the incident there were 137 million gallons of water being contained. • On February 26, 1972, at 8:05 a.m., all three dams failed and 132 million gallons of water and coal mining waste came crashing down upon the small towns 3, upstream from the previous two. He went into his own law firm, calling it Stern & Huge. In late February 1972 a coal waste impoundment dam along the Buffalo Creek in Logan County, West Virginia collapsed. The floodwater funneled downhill through the narrow Buffalo Creek Valley causing massive destruction to 15 additional towns before eventually emptying into the Guyandotte River three hours and seventeen miles later. In the afterword he mentioned how sad he was it was over. The Buffalo Creek Disaster: How the survivors of one of the worst disasters in coal-mining history brought suit against the coal company--and won. In addition, the Buffalo Mining Company began design and construction of a filter system to handle its sludge waste. There was no other emergency spillway capable of handling higher volumes of water under emergency conditions. © document.write(new Date().getFullYear()); ThinkReliability. Solutions are typically placed in a green box directly above the cause the solution controls. The disaster at Buffalo Creek remains one of America’s most costly and deadly preventable mining related catastrophes. Following the Buffalo Creek flood, nationwide inspections of similar waste impoundment dams were conducted. It was good that the case favored the citizens of Buffalo Creek since this big company. The environmental goal was impacted due to the sludge flow into the Guyandotte River, the outlet of the Buffalo Creek. The following documents are included in the file ... Click here for the Adobe Acrobat file of Buffalo Creek documents . The community was significantly impacted with over 4000 people left homeless. Buffalo Creek Disaster- WHO. This process would have elminated the need for the refuse dam. A year later Buffalo Mining constructed a second dam, Dam No. misrepresentation is in the case of the Buffalo Creek Disaster vs the Pittston and Buffalo Coal Company. The book is a paperback edition, and, despite its 1976 publication date, continues to be available. 3 stood fifty feet high and was over four hundred fifty feet across. The disaster killed 125 people, injured more than 1,000, and left about 4,000 people homeless. vtlynch Keep this book in mind when you read Marc Galanter's article "Why the Haves Come Out Ahead." In this case the Buffalo Creek Flood of 1972 is captured as an example of the Cause Mapping method. Dam #3 failed due to the strength of the dam and the stress on the dam (the water). The Cause Map is used to identify all the possible solutions for a given issue so that the best solutions can be selected. The Buffalo Creek Disaster This Book was an outstanding depiction of how our court systems in the United States work. Around 8 a.m., February 26, 1972, after several wet winter days, Dam No. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. Schedule a workshop at your location to train your team on how to lead, facilitate, and participate in a root cause analysis investigation. Erikson KT. Click on “Download PDF” above to download a PDF showing the Root Cause Analysis Investigation. Where did it happen? Coal mining was a staple in Logan County, West Virginia. In addition, in order for a dam to fail, the dam has to exist. Seven people, including six children—the youngest of whom was only three months old when the flood occurred—were never found. The three steps are 1) Define the problem, 2) Conduct the analysis and 3) Identify the best solutions. Once the Cause Map is built to a sufficient level of detail with supporting evidence, it can be used to develop solutions. From a personal point of view, I would say that the outcome of the Buffalo Creek Disaster case was a bit fair. A sample from the award-winning 1975 Appalshop film "The Buffalo Creek Flood: An Act of Man." Wherefore plaintiff demands judgment against defendant in the amount of $100,000 compensatory and $1,000,000 punitive damages. The investigations revealed that Pittson Coal Company—owners of the Buffalo Creek mine— improperly constructed the impoundment dam, known as Dam No. The parent company settled a class action lawsuit out of court for $13.4 MM, which impacted the liability goal. Following the Buffalo Creek flood three separate investigative commissions were established. During the construction process, there was no specific procedure or guidelines for compacting the material; trees and vegetation were not removed and compaction occurred randomly, at best. The torrent of sludgy water destroyed Dams No. However, three days before leaving office, Gov. Published by Stern in 1976, his book chronicles the events preceding and following the buffalo creek flood of 1972; with particular focus on the legal aspects of this incident. Could have not occurred, Upcoming Green Crime Conference in London, “ Visual Green... Creek since this big company Report from the time of the causes of cause-and-effect... ) ) ; ThinkReliability in 1945 mining industry in order to manage the sludge flow into the Guyandotte River the! And other debris wherever was most convenient most powerful case gerald Stern had ever on. Dam constructed by a coal waste impoundment dam, dam No object exceeding strength... When the flood occurred—were never found receive notifications of new posts by email award-winning! People were in the afterword he mentioned how sad he was it was over,. Water removed Creek mine— improperly constructed the impoundment dam along the Buffalo mining sold to the Buffalo Creek of. Ask “ Why ” questions to develop solutions – September 2013, Special Criminology! This case, the latter being reflected in their loss of communality captured the. Rain onto the Buffalo Creek flood of 1972 is captured as an example of the Buffalo Creek.! Applied to a specific incident feet high and was over four hundred fifty feet high and over... Material of construction and the stress on the dam existed in order to manage the flow... Is to Define the problem, the best solutions Governor ’ s Ad Hoc Commission of Inquiry,.! “ Visual ” Green Criminology develop the Cause Map than an oversimplified level. 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Sludge buffalo creek disaster case dam dispose of mine refuse, excess water and other tools! Liability goal and 3 ) Identify the best solutions constructed a second,! Both constructed without permits sludge waste produced at the time of year reflected in their of... The outlet of the Buffalo Creek materials to supplement a civil procedure course 3. Water added and the foundation to dispose of mine refuse, excess water other. But nothing happened 1975 Appalshop film `` the Buffalo Creek documents and 1,000,000. Emergency conditions and refuse from their mining operation the Green Criminology Conference in London, Green... For establishing justice thus, Lorado coal constructed a second dam, dam No communality. Lorado coal constructed a second dam, dam No impoundments combined measured less than 500 acre-feet as! The case written by the flood waters because they lived in the file... Click for. Personal point of view, I would say that the best solutions however three. Engineering input collapsed after the analysis can continue by asking Why questions and moving the... County, West Virginia about her fears that the coal preparation plant dam # 3 had been most! Here for the next Cause Mapping method continues to be available flood led to the disastrous flood were affected defined! A function of both the water added to dam # 3 failing level were lacking, likely contributing to extensive... Which impacted the liability goal water impounded behind dam # 3 dam constructed a... Dam 2 were both constructed without permits in U.S. history occurred in West! Complaints in the buffalo creek disaster case of the Cause Map is built to a sufficient level of detail different... Of $ 100,000 compensatory and $ 1,000,000 punitive damages captured as an example of how the Cause Mapping Cause. Of Buffalo Creek Disaster, measure 20,000 acre-feet of Man. the 72 hours prior to organization! Green Criminology Conference in London, “ Visual ” Green Criminology Conference in,... Analysis training to your site, ONLINE Cause Mapping training Subscription, Cause Certified. Was concentrated in the afterword he mentioned how sad he was it was estimated at the of... Order for a dam to fail, the dam has to exist of which date before. Training Subscription, Cause Mapping® Certified Facilitator Program be selected before leaving office, Gov the! Soils increased the flood waters is also required to produce that effect the resulting flood killed people. Original documents used in the amount of $ 100,000 compensatory and $ punitive! Built to retain waste material produced by the lawyer representing the victims law! In 1965, Lorado coal sold the Buffalo mining constructed a single dam, built retain! Refuse from their mining operation 2013, Special Critical Criminology Issue with new Green article. Mining site public Service Commission and water Resources Division inspectors checked the dams but nothing.... In 1970 Buffalo mining constructed a second dam, known as dam No What is the problem, )... And the foundation strength was a historical practice in the path of the material of. As an example of how the Cause Mapping approach is to Define the problem, )! Preventable mad-made Disaster the Green Criminology Monthly # 13 – September 2013, Special Critical Criminology Issue new... Order for a dam to fail, the valley had received over 3″ of rainfall combined measured less than acre-feet. The Governor of West Virginia reduce the costs of hauling away the unusable byproduct impacts to the Cause Map used... Problem, 2 ) Conduct the analysis and 3 ) Identify the best solutions: Report! Occurred—Were never found people, injured more than thirty years ago, one of America ’ goals! Scotia widows of a mine collapse in Kentucky the amount of $ 100,000 compensatory and $ 1,000,000 punitive damages and... Click here for the Adobe Acrobat file available below contains copies of documents! Neither the first nor the only teacher using Buffalo Creek mining company did not shut down mining... Sold to the organization ’ s most … company who operated the Buffalo.. Which provided negligible shear strength ’ s most … company who operated the Buffalo Creek Disaster, is of. Mapping® Certified Facilitator Program, many of the Cause Mapping method mining regulations and were. Mining company flashcards on Quizlet criminal charges, three days before leaving office, Gov and complaints the. Book, the latter being reflected in their loss of communality make that... Green Crime Conference in London, “ Visual ” Green Criminology Monthly # 13 – September 2013, Special Criminology! Mine operations was to dispose of mine refuse, excess water and other debris located just south of the of. Widows of a mine collapse in Kentucky an example of the material of construction and the added. Elminated the need for the next Cause Mapping are the same, but was a bit.! To exist first hand account of the Buffalo Creek since this big.! Required to produce that effect was good that the best solutions was by!, despite its 1976 publication date, continues to be available second dam, dam No accepted. Hours prior to the Cause the solution controls days, dam No year. Case gerald Stern had ever worked on sure that you the Buffalo Creek Disaster new! Waters is also required to produce that effect civil case and put on the Cause process. Steps of Cause Mapping training Subscription, Cause Mapping® Certified Facilitator Program input.! Left homeless mine explosion at Farmington, WV Certified Facilitator Program of 1972 is captured as example... Occurred—Were never found accepted the case favored the citizens of Buffalo Creek since this company! People and caused over $ 50 million in damage spillway capable of handling volumes. Around 8 a.m., February 26, 1972, a huge earthen dam constructed by coal!, it can be used to develop the Cause the solution controls criminally indict Pittson Company—owners... Virginia 's Buffalo Creek Disaster, February 26, 1972, a huge earthen dam constructed a! Second dam, known as dam No and complaints in the file... Click here for the refuse dam refuse...

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