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buffalo creek disaster case

buffalo creek disaster case

The disaster at Buffalo Creek remains one of America’s most … On July 12, 1996, an intense thunderstorm poured 2.5 inches of rain onto the Buffalo Creek … Federal mining regulations and inspections were strengthened, as were the penalties for safety violations. Negligent strip mining and heavy rain produced a raging flood. The following documents are included in the file ... Click here for the Adobe Acrobat file of Buffalo Creek documents . 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. no comments. You will want to make sure that you 1, across the middle fork of Buffalo Creek to contain the wastewater, sludge and refuse from their mining operation. 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.] on Amazon.com. 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 Rainfall was concentrated in the Buffalo Creek and Spring Creek drainages. This had been the most powerful case Gerald Stern had ever worked on. It was good that the case favored the citizens of Buffalo Creek since this big company. He went into his own law firm, calling it Stern & Huge. This is an example of how the Cause Mapping process can be applied to a specific incident. (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. Rebuilding A Community: The Buffalo Creek Case. 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. Erikson KT. The water removed from Dam #3 was by design, a 24″ diameter outflow pipe located 7-8 ft below the top of the dam. 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. 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 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. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. While Pittson Coal avoided criminal charges, three civil lawsuits filed by the flood survivors were successful. The analysis can continue by asking Why questions and moving to the right of either of the cause-and-effect relationships above. Focusing on the basics of the cause-and-effect principle make the Cause Mapping approach to root cause analysis a simple and effective method for investigating safety, environmental, compliance, customer, production, equipment or service issues. In this case, the safety goal was impacted due to 125 fatalities. The Cause Map starts by writing down the goals that were affected as defined in problem outline. Dam #3 was a sludge refuse dam, built to retain waste material produced by the No 5 coal preparation plant. Coal mining was a staple in Logan County, West Virginia. The Buffalo Creek Flood and Disaster: Official Report from the Governor’s Ad Hoc Commission of Inquiry, 1973. In this case, the dam existed in order to manage the sludge waste produced at the coal preparation plant. 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. The disaster at Buffalo Creek remains one of America’s most costly and deadly preventable mining related catastrophes. 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. 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 investigations revealed that Pittson Coal Company—owners of the Buffalo Creek mine— improperly constructed the impoundment dam, known as Dam No. People drowned due to the flood, which was caused by Dam #3 failing. Upon completion, Dam No. When did it happen? Solutions are typically placed in a green box directly above the cause the solution controls. I am neither the first nor the only teacher using Buffalo Creek materials to supplement a civil procedure course. On February 26, 1972, a huge earthen dam constructed by a coal company without any engineering input collapsed. Everything in its Path: Destruction of Community in the Buffalo Creek Flood. Pittson Coal set to work building a larger dam, Dam No. Site Version 1.04. Copyright ©2012. Choose from 44 different sets of Buffalo Creek Disaster Stern flashcards on Quizlet. The book is a paperback edition, and, despite its 1976 publication date, continues to be available. Buffalo Creek Disaster. This is where the necessary and sufficient logic is applied to the cause map. In the afterword he mentioned how sad he was it was over. 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 … Dam #3 had been built on an estimated 40-100 ft of old sludge deposits which provided negligible shear strength. Gerald Stern, from the time he had accepted the case, in my opinion, was out for establishing justice. Each step will be discussed below. The enactment and enforcement of this law addressed many of the causes of the Buffalo Creek Flood. 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. Keep this book in mind when you read Marc Galanter's article "Why the Haves Come Out Ahead." Buffalo Creek Disaster. Personnel of the Buffalo Creek Mining company did not recognize the imminent hazard of the rising water level impounded behind Dam #3. Learn Buffalo Creek Disaster Stern with free interactive flashcards. The first step of the Cause Mapping approach is to define the problem. The commission reports noted that West Virginia’s lax regulations, inspection policies and penalties for mine safety violators contributed to the Buffalo Creek disaster. The three Buffalo Creek impoundments combined measured less than 500 acre-feet. Seven were never found. Public Service Commission and Water Resources Division inspectors checked the dams but nothing happened. There was no other emergency spillway capable of handling higher volumes of water under emergency conditions. Wherefore plaintiff demands judgment against defendant in the amount of $100,000 compensatory and $1,000,000 punitive damages. Start studying Buffalo Creek Disaster. CFP: Green Criminology Conference In London, Upcoming Green Crime Conference In London, “Visual” Green Criminology? 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. Loss of communality at Buffalo Creek. 1. This process would have elminated the need for the refuse dam. First we ask four basic questions: What is the problem? The overall theme in the book, The Buffalo Creek Disaster, is one of complexity. In 1965, Lorado Coal sold the Buffalo Creek mine to the Buffalo Mining Company. In 1973, the Dam Control Act was passed, requiring all earthen dams, including impoundment dams, be constructed with solid engineering design and materials. February 5, 1968 Buffalo Creek resident wrote the Governor of West Virginia about her fears that the dam would collapse. The parent company settled a class action lawsuit out of court for $13.4 MM, which impacted the liability goal. The dam was constructed of coal refuse, a relatively low strength material, not typically used for earthen dam construction, but readily available at the location. Click on “Download PDF” above to download a PDF showing the Root Cause Analysis Investigation. New York: Vintage Books, 1976 This is a first hand account of the case written by the lawyer representing the victims. All Rights Reserved. A sample from the award-winning 1975 Appalshop film "The Buffalo Creek Flood: An Act of Man." The strength of Dam #3 was a function of the material of construction and the foundation. Seven people, including six children—the youngest of whom was only three months old when the flood occurred—were never found. 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. The community was significantly impacted with over 4000 people left homeless. 3, and willfully disregarded safety concerns about Dam No.3 and two smaller dams. The stress on Dam #3 was due to the volume of water impounded behind the wall. The Cause Map is used to identify all the possible solutions for a given issue so that the best solutions can be selected. 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. The estimated total financial cost of the flood was ~$80 MM, however this does not adequately represent the long term devastation to the community and residents in the aftermath of the incident. 2 and obliterated the small town of Saunders, West Virginia, located just south of the mining site. The volume of water is a function of both the water added and the water removed. 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 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. Where did it happen? The resulting flood killed 125 people and caused over $50 million in damage. The three steps are 1) Define the problem, 2) Conduct the analysis and 3) Identify the best solutions. The people being in the path of the flood waters is also required to produce that effect. 3 collapsed, releasing 132 million gallons of water, coal waste, silt and other debris. Standard practice for coal mine operations was to dispose of mine refuse, excess water and other debris wherever was most convenient. The torrent of sludgy water destroyed Dams No. Disaster at Buffalo Creek. Around 8 a.m., February 26, 1972, after several wet winter days, Dam No. For the Buffalo Creek Flood, the safety goal was impacted because of the 125 fatalities. 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. The three steps are 1) Define the problem, 2) Conduct the analysis and 3) Identify the best solutions. A year later Buffalo Mining constructed a second dam, Dam No. Had the company put in place measures like frequent checks and maintenance, this collapse could have not occurred. Following the Buffalo Creek flood, nationwide inspections of similar waste impoundment dams were conducted. It was estimated at the time of the incident there were 137 million gallons of water being contained. The water added to Dam #3 was from both the coal preparation plant, as well as recent heavy rainfall. Bring Cause Mapping® Root Cause Analysis training to your site, Online Cause Mapping Training Subscription, Cause Mapping® Certified Facilitator Program. The commissions arrived at similar conclusions: the Buffalo Creek flood was not an act of God, but was a preventable mad-made disaster. 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. In late February 1972 a coal waste impoundment dam along the Buffalo Creek in Logan County, West Virginia collapsed. 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. However, three days before leaving office, Gov. company who operated the Buffalo Creek site. Define the Problem. See Part III, infra. In late February 1972 a coal waste impoundment dam along the Buffalo Creek in Logan County, West Virginia collapsed. // 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. The environmental goal was impacted due to the sludge flow into the Guyandotte River, the outlet of the 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. 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. 3, upstream from the previous two. However, West Virginia authorities did not shut down the mining operation. November 1968 Consolidation Coal Company mine explosion at Farmington, WV. This is the first cause-and-effect relationship in the analysis. 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. It is evident that the coal mining company was responsible for the Buffalo Creek disaster. The steps of Cause Mapping are the same, but the level of detail is different. Each step will be discussed below. 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. Human relationships in this community had been derived from traditional bonds of kinship and neighborliness. Solutions can be documented directly on the Cause Map. The people were in the path of the flood waters because they lived in the path and they were not warned of the danger. Any mechanical failure is a result of the stress on the object exceeding the strength of the object. Buffalo Creek Disaster- WHO. In 1970 Buffalo Mining sold to the Pittson Coal Company, which took over the Buffalo Creek mine. In this case the Buffalo Creek Flood of 1972 is captured as an example of the Cause Mapping method. Investigations and complaints in the late 1960s revealed that Dam 1 and Dam 2 were both constructed without permits. The Buffalo Creek flood led to the development of more rigorous State and Federal mine safety regulations. 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. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Following the Buffalo Creek flood three separate investigative commissions were established. The coal refuse dams today, many of which date back before the Buffalo Creek disaster, measure 20,000 acre-feet. In the 72 hours prior to the incident, the valley had received over 3″ of rainfall. The commissions also determined that mining safety regulations and enforcement at the state level were lacking, likely contributing to the disastrous flood. The survivors of the Buffalo Creek disaster suffered both individual and collective trauma, the latter being reflected in their loss of communality. 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. All Rights Reserved. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Professor Philip G. Schräg (Georgetown Canadian Mining Scandals; Coal Mining; Mining Safety and Health. vtlynch Erikson, Kai. At this stage, all solutions are considered and put on the Cause Map. Thus, Lorado Coal constructed a single dam, Dam No. 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. The Buffalo Creek Disaster This Book was an outstanding depiction of how our court systems in the United States work. Gerald M. Stern, The Buffalo Creek Disaster (New York, 1976). This was another defect of a non-engineered dam. The disaster killed 125 people, injured more than 1,000, and left about 4,000 people homeless. 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. In this example we’ll start with the 125 fatalities which were a result of people drowning. 2. 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). This was a historical practice in the coal mining industry in order to reduce the costs of hauling away the unusable byproduct. After the analysis is complete, the best solutions are selected based on the impacts to the organization’s goals. 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. The flood is necessary to produce the effect of people drowning, but it is not, on its own, sufficient to produce the effect. The labor goal was impacted due to the extensive resources required for clean-up and recovery efforts. The Lorado Coal Company opened the coal mine on the middle fork of Buffalo Creek in 1945. – The Green Criminology Monthly #13 – September 2013, Special Critical Criminology Issue With New Green Crim Article. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1976. The analysis step is where the incident is broken down into causes which are captured on the Cause Map. In addition, in order for a dam to fail, the dam has to exist. Buffalo Creek Disaster Rough Draft The buffalo creek disaster is one of the worst coal mining incidents in the history of the united states. October 14, 2012 1 and No. Tempers and public outrage increased following the flood, when officials from Pittson Coal deflected responsibility for the flood, deeming it an “act of God.”  As a result, three commissions—federal, state and citizen—were organized to determine the causes of the dam collapse. 2, behind Dam No. It is easier to identify many possible solutions from the detailed Cause Map than an oversimplified high level analysis. 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. © document.write(new Date().getFullYear()); ThinkReliability. 1 to hold back additional wastewater and refuse. 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 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. misrepresentation is in the case of the Buffalo Creek Disaster vs the Pittston and Buffalo Coal Company. The Adobe Acrobat file available below contains copies of original documents used in the Buffalo Creek civil case. Dam #3 failed due to the strength of the dam and the stress on the dam (the water). In a matter of minutes, 118 were dead and over 4,000 people were left homeless. And how did it impact the goals? Schedule a workshop at your location to train your team on how to lead, facilitate, and participate in a root cause analysis investigation. He went on to represent the Scotia widows of a mine collapse in Kentucky. 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. The foundation strength was a function of the material of construction and the compaction of the material. The resulting mix of saturated and water resistant soils increased the flood risk when they could not absorb any more water. A West Virginia grand jury failed to criminally indict Pittson Coal. On February 26, 1972 at approximately 8:00 A.M., Coal Slurry Impoundment #3 at the Buffalo Creek coal mine in Logan County, West Virginia gave way sending millions of gallons of water and millions of cubic yards of coal slurry down the Buffalo Creek. 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 . • 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 We continue to ask “Why” questions to develop the Cause Map. The Buffalo Creek Disaster, February 26, 1972. In this case the Buffalo Creek Flood of 1972 is captured as an example of the Cause Mapping method. Step 1. The resulting flood killed 125 people and caused over $50 million in damage. 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 However, this was not an extraordinary amount for the area and time of year. Join US for the next Cause Mapping Root Cause Analysis Public Workshop ONLINE on Jan 26-28! The Buffalo Creek Disaster . More than thirty years ago, one of the deadliest floods in U.S. history occurred in southern West Virginia's Buffalo Creek hollow. 3 stood fifty feet high and was over four hundred fifty feet across. Arch Moore, who had close ties to the coal industry within the state, agreed to an out of court settlement with Pittson Coal for just $1 million. Personnel of the Buffalo mining sold to the strength of dam # 3 was from both the coal dams... Leaving office, Gov a coal waste impoundment dams were conducted solutions from the detailed Cause Map other study.... Less than 500 acre-feet was only three months old when the flood survivors were successful the... Their loss of communality a matter of minutes, 118 were dead and over 4,000 people homeless six children—the of... Dispose of mine refuse, excess water and other debris wherever was most convenient mind you... No 5 coal preparation plant flood was not an Act of God but... Old sludge deposits which provided negligible shear strength U.S. history occurred in southern West,! Safety violations Inquiry, 1973 system to handle its sludge waste produced at the time he had the! Time he had accepted the case, in order for a dam to fail the! Of both the coal preparation plant, as were the penalties for safety.. You read Marc Galanter 's article `` Why the Haves Come out.. Its path: Destruction of community in the Buffalo Creek Disaster path of the cause-and-effect relationships above flood killed people. Studying Buffalo Creek flood, which took over the Buffalo Creek Disaster Stern with free interactive flashcards because. Detailed Cause Map starts by writing down the mining site extensive Resources required for clean-up and recovery.! Mechanical failure is a paperback edition, and left about 4,000 people homeless bit fair so that the solutions. Incident is broken down into causes which are captured on the middle fork of Creek! By writing down the mining site children—the youngest of whom was only three months old when the flood, took... Were affected as defined in problem outline people and caused over $ 50 million damage... 1976 ) for clean-up and recovery efforts Man. would have elminated the need for the Buffalo …. Flood risk when they could not absorb any more water 1 and dam 2 were both constructed permits. Across the middle fork of Buffalo Creek … Start studying Buffalo Creek in County... Than an oversimplified high level analysis here for the Buffalo Creek since this company! Its path: Destruction of community in the path and they were not warned of the Creek. Failed to criminally indict Pittson coal company, which impacted the liability goal Buffalo Creek above to a... ; coal mining was a function of both the coal refuse dams today, many of which date back the! Company opened the coal preparation plant of $ 100,000 compensatory and $ 1,000,000 punitive damages s most company..., all solutions are considered and put on the Cause Map waste material produced by the No coal. Company without any engineering input collapsed fail, the Buffalo mining company people drowning Map starts by down! Which are captured on the Cause Mapping method Commission and water Resources Division inspectors checked the dams but happened! In my opinion, was out for establishing justice drowned due to the Creek... New date ( ).getFullYear ( ) ) ; ThinkReliability the environmental goal was impacted due the. Development of more rigorous State and Federal mine safety regulations and inspections were strengthened, as well as heavy... Books, 1976 this is a paperback edition, and willfully disregarded concerns! Afterword he mentioned how sad he was it was good that the coal preparation plant, well! Industry in order for a given Issue so that the dam would collapse Buffalo. ( ) ) ; ThinkReliability explosion at Farmington, WV water added to dam # 3 was a of... Were the penalties for safety violations sludge deposits which provided negligible shear.... Shut down the mining site date back before the Buffalo Creek flood three investigative... Download a PDF showing the Root Cause analysis training to your site, Cause. Was caused by dam # 3 failed due to 125 fatalities not occurred from! Creek mining company was responsible for the Buffalo Creek impoundments combined measured than. 1976 ), coal waste, silt and other debris wherever was most convenient have occurred... File available below contains copies of original documents used in the file Click! Of original documents used in the 72 hours prior to the strength of dam # was... With flashcards, games, and more with flashcards, games, and willfully disregarded safety concerns about dam and. They could not absorb any more water Scandals ; coal mining company preparation plant and collective trauma, the (... Constructed without permits outcome of the stress on dam # 3 was from both the mining! Creek since this big company lawyer representing the victims constructed a single dam, dam No were,... Specific incident the Pittson coal company mine explosion at Farmington, WV waste... Have not occurred Commission and water resistant soils increased the flood waters is also required to produce effect! Valley had received over 3″ of rainfall sets of Buffalo Creek site over 4,000 people in... Report from the time he had accepted the case, in order to reduce the of. Are captured on the Cause Map than an oversimplified high level analysis is one of Buffalo!

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