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Buffalo Creek

Governor Moore attempted to use the opportunity to execute a 10- year-old plan to construct a super highway through Buffalo Creek hollow into Raleigh County. The flood would have allowed Moore to build the highway entirely with federal disaster funds. The state Department of Highways condemned and purchased hundreds of property lots from survivors. A two-lane road was constructed but the proposed super highway never materialized. In many instances, the state refused to sell property back to its original owners. Road Construction after the flood
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' "clean up" of the flood-ravaged area cost $3.7 million. The state of West Virginia negotiated with the federal government until 1988, finally agreeing to repay $9.5 million to cover clean-up costs and a portion of the interest. The state sued Pittston for $100 million, $50 million of which was earmarked to recoup the cost of damages and recovery efforts. Governor Moore negotiated a $1 million settlement just three days prior to leaving office in 1977. Cleanup
Numerous lawsuits were filed. In the largest class action suit, some 600 survivors and family members of victims sued Pittston for $64 million. They settled out of court for $13.5 million in 1974, with each individual receiving an average of $13,000 after legal costs. A 70-year-old man commented to a Pittston attorney, "I've often thought some of this stuff could have been avoided if somebody would have come around and said,
`Here's a blanket and here's a dress for your wife' or `Here's a sandwich. Could I give you a cup of coffee?' But they never showed up. Nobody showed up to give us a place to stay. . . The Pittston Company never offered me a pair of pants to put on, no shirt. . . ."
quote from Everything in Its Path, by Kai T. Erikson
Bulldozer and Houses
The lawyers for the plaintiffs, Arnold & Porter of Washington, D.C., donated a portion of their legal fees for the construction of a new community center. The state never built the center promised by Governor Moore in May 1972. Park
The Aftermath Table of Contents Epilogue
West Virginia Archives and History