In the course of the investigation, which also included reviewing piles of engineering reports, Spadaro was haunted by his memories of an earlier catastrophe, now infamous in coal country, known as the Buffalo Creek Disaster
. In 1972, Spadaro, then a research engineer for the West Virginia School of Mines, had been dispatched to investigate a coal slurry spill in Buffalo Creek, W.
After the Buffalo Creek disaster
, the Nixon administration introduced a weaker bill that would have given states chief responsibility for regulation, overseen by the Bureau of Mines--then widely considered a political arm of the mining industry.
I was a college student at the time of the Buffalo Creek disaster
. The experience taught me that not only miners were expendable; women and children were fair game too.