At the risk of being pedantic, was I the only one left scratching my head after reading the front-page article, “Is site safe? Doubts persist in Wildwood,” in Tuesday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch?
The 1,100-word story told of a controversial plan to build homes atop a toxic dump site in west St Louis County. As P-D reporter Stephen Deere notes, “It’s hard to believe that Russell Bliss used to call this area home and that he buried hundreds of 55-gallon drums filled with pharmaceutical waste beneath it.”
Before going into depth about the city’s reaction to the planned development, Deere briefly mentions how the property’s former owner contracted with chemical companies in the 1960s and ’70s to dump toxic waste on the land.
Nothing else was mentioned about Russell Bliss – including the fact that he is perhaps one of the nation’s most notorious environmental polluters.
I don’t mean to be critical of Deere’s reporting, and God knows I always don’t get all the facts straight. But you’d think an editor would have alerted Deere to this omission. Then again, after all the recent buyouts at the paper one might compare the institutional memory at the Post-Dispatch to Times Beach. Empty and abandoned.