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Buffalo Creek

Three separate commissions studying the disaster -- federal, state, and citizen -- found that Buffalo Mining had blatantly disregarded standard safety practices. Pittson officials called the flood an "Act of God" and said the dam was simply "incapable of holding the water God poured into it." Rev. Charles Crumm, a disabled miner from the Buffalo Creek area, testified before the Citizens' Commission to Investigate the Buffalo Creek Disaster, ". . . I never saw God drive the first slate truck in the holler. . . ." -- Pittston quote from Appalshop film, Buffalo Creek Flood: An Act of Man and Crumm quote from Disaster on Buffalo Creek, 1972 Aftermath
House A circuit court grand jury failed to return any indictments against Pittston despite apparent violations of state and federal laws. Special prosecuting attorney Dean Willard Lorenson of the West Virginia University School of Law commended the jury, "It has been a noble exercise in American justice." -- quote from Grafton Daily Sentinel, November 16, 1972
In May 1972, Governor Arch Moore, in the midst of a re-election campaign, proposed 10 redevelopment projects for Buffalo Creek, few of which were completed on time or ever materialized. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development set up temporary mobile home communities for the homeless. Despite suggestions to recreate a sense of community, residents were separated from their former neighbors. Mobile Homes
Model Homes Of the 750 proposed public housing units, only 17 model homes and 90 apartments were constructed. The model homes were built on an old gob pile near Robinette.
In the 1985 Appalshop documentary, Buffalo Creek Revisited, Jack Vernatter of Robinette commented,
"If either one of you all would've told me that I couldn't have got anything from my state, or if my government would've lied to me, you would've had me to fight. Right now, brother, she's up in limbo. I'll tell you -- they'll all lie to you, every one of 'em will give you a nice talk and they'll put a picture on there that, by God, you can almost see it in the dark. But it's not there, folks."

Drawings of Proposed Housing Units
Drawing of proposed public housing units

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