“Buffalo Creek Flood” to be Featured in WVU Symposium





On the 42nd anniversary of one of the worst disasters in our region’s history, the West Virginia University College of Law will host the Buffalo Creek Symposium on February 25th & 26th, 2014. The event will feature many of the original attorneys and experts involved with

the flood, as well as Appalshop filmmaker Mimi Pickering, who will be presenting her films Buffalo Creek Flood: Act of Man and Buffalo Creek Revisited as part of the symposium.

When the Pittston Coal Company dam burst at Buffalo Creek in Logan County, WV, on February 26, 1972, 130 million gallons of water, coal sludge and waste materials were released, resulting in a 20–30 foot wall of water that flooded the towns of Buffalo Valley.

Unlike accidents that occur at a mine site, this disaster struck miners, townspeople, and families in their homes early on a Saturday morning. There was no warning. 125 people were killed, 4,000 were left homeless, over 1,000 were injured, and nearly 1500 houses and mobile homes were destroyed or damaged. Property damage was estimated at $50 million.

Although more than 40 years have passed since the devastating flood at Buffalo Creek occurred, this event is still recognized as one of the worst disasters in U.S. coal mining history. This symposium will explore the legal precedents and environmental legacies from the perspective of the three major cases to arise from the disaster: Dennis Prince v. The Pittston Coal CompanyJustice v. The Pittston Coal Company, and The State of West Virginia v. The Pittston Coal Company.

Visit the Buffalo Creek Symposium online for a schedule and more information about the event.