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Niles Stephens is Stand Alone Vote Against New Moratorium on Development at Former Bliss Sites- Upda

(Image: Image of samples of Bliss waste oil taken by Judi Piatt after her children and horses were poisoned.)

At the November 12th meeting, while citing findings of fact that hazardous material has still been found at former Bliss Sites, all but Niles Stephens voted on a moratorium on considering any development at former Bliss related dioxin sites in Wildwood. These properties were contaminated by Russel Bliss in the 1970's with a host of toxic chemicals including dioxin.

These sites are now infamous for toxic waste and even associated by some with the illness of neighborhood children have been under the oversight of the EPA and DNR. They have also been central to litigation by the City to prevent development at the former Bliss sites.

The EPA has been criticized for using a different standard than anywhere else in the nation with the former Bliss sites when it comes to allowing development. The agency has also been panned for poor data and lack of accurate test-well data.

In 2008, the Wildwood City Council had passed a "moratorium" on building on these sites, but according to city staff did not have the benefit of having had a public hearing, related ordinance and thus needed fortification of the November 12th resolution for legal reasons. It is probable that as the court case regarding the future of these sights continue, a stronger legal footing for a moratorium was being sought.

"Given the history of the site I cannot see how anyone could greenlight development there at least without further study and answers to some serious questions" said Joe Garritano councilman from Wildwood's Ward 8.

"A council person's first responsibility is the safety of residents and we don't have the information to guarantee that safety," said Dr. Ken Remy Councilman for Ward 3.

In his defense, Councilman Stephens stated that before he had voted against the moratorium, he had made a motion requiring a, "two-thirds majority before ending the moratorium," which he noted was being set in place for 12 months. In a call with Wildwood Matters Stephens asserted that although the city's professional staff were seeking a stronger and more legally fortified prohibition, he was opposed to putting it in place in lieu of an indefinite, albeit murkier version.

Here is a link to the actual bill that establishing finding of fact.

For more information on the history of dioxin in Missouri check out this WWM link.

And here is a link to a national site about how the Wildwood Bilss sites are still part of the national conversation.

Paid for By Steve Taylor