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Buffalo Creek

In 1978, an attempt to incorporate Buffalo Creek as a town failed by a vote of 816 to 546. Incorporation would have qualified the area for federal and state rehabilitation grants. Opposition to incorporation was backed heavily by coal companies, which owned 60 percent of Logan County's land and wanted to be excluded from incorporation property taxes. Incorporation story from newspaper

The 1969 federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act had outlawed coal impoundments like those built by the Buffalo Mining Company on Buffalo Creek. The disaster at Buffalo Creek awakened the Mine Health and Safety Administration to the importance of enforcing these federal regulations. In 1973, the West Virginia Legislature passed the Dam Control Act, regulating all dams in the state. However, funding was never appropriated to enforce the law. In 1992, an official with the state Division of Natural Resources estimated there were at least 400 hazardous non-coal dams in West Virginia, many of which were owned by the state.

"People here are not like they used to be. Only people who were in the flood realize that it's not rudeness when you have to ask them to repeat something simply because you weren't listening, your mind was somewhere else. Or you forget to ask them to come back again when they leave after a visit. Or, as happens every day, you start to say something and forget what it was, or just walk away while someone is still talking to you. Or you start looking for something you know you have and then remember, `That was before.'"
-- quote from Everything in Its Path, by Kai T. Erikson

The Politics Table of Contents In Memoriam
West Virginia Archives and History