Sunday, February 26, 2012

Anniversary at Buffalo Creek, West Virginia

Today is the 40th anniversary of the Buffalo Creek mining disaster in West Virginia.
The destruction occurred when an earthen dam holding mining waste gave way and flooded the hollows through which the creek ran.  130 million gallons of coal sludge destroyed the towns of Saunders, Lundle, Pardee, Lorado, Crites, and others.  125 West Virginians were killed.  4000 were left homeless.  Lakes, ponds, and creeks were polluted; aquatic life destroyed.
The mine owners called it an Act of God.  Today, in this more secular age, they might say "Yeah, like, shit happens, you know?"
Everyone who lived there knew the dam would collapse one day.  But that made no difference then.  No difference now either.  The same regulations in effect then are in effect today.
But this happened in a place no one cares about and to a people no one cares about.  This is life in Appalachia.
When George W. Bush made the statement that Americans are "addicted to oil" I was shocked.  I couldn't tell if it meant that even an oil-rich Texan sees a problem or if it meant that there was no need to pretend anymore.
Our lust for energy sources is rapacious.  Our profligate use of energy is depressing.  The Power People tell us that we must drill, strip and frack for "Energy Security."   Ah, that word 'security'.  It has covered so many sins over the years.
What they don't mention is that a half dozen refineries are planned (permitting underway) to process natural gas into a state feasible to transport and sell abroad. 
Right now oil companies are exporting American oil abroad even as they tell us we need to find more here for our uses.

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