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Waste-oil hauler Russell Bliss, who allegedly sprayed dioxin-contaminated oil...

By
TIM BRYANT

ST. LOUIS -- Waste-oil hauler Russell Bliss, who allegedly sprayed dioxin-contaminated oil around the state in the 1970s, was sentenced Friday to one year in prison on unrelated charges of income tax fraud.

Bliss showed no emotion during sentencing before U.S. Dictrict Judge Clyde S. Cahill.

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Defense attorney Charles Shaw said no decision had been made whether to appeal the sentence, which included fines totaling $8,000.

A federal court jury July 22 found Bliss guilty of over-stating his business expenses for 1976, 1977 and 1978. He faced a maximum of nine years in prison.

Prosecutors said Bliss wrote 27 checks to fictitious people overstating business expenses, thereby reducing his federal income taxes.

Bliss, 49, is believed responsible for spreading much of the dioxin that contaminated at least 31 sites in central and eastern Missouri, including the St. Louis suburb of Times Beach.

The toxic chemical was contained in waste oil Bliss' company sprayed on roads, parking lots, truck terminals and horse arenas for dust control.

The dioxin has been traced to six tanker truckloads of waste Bliss picked up in 1971 from the now-defunct Northeastern Pharmaceutical and Chemical Co. in Verona, Mo. Bliss has said he was not told the oil contained dioxin.

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Bliss has said publicity about his spreading of dioxin to Times Beach and other areas forced him to turn over his waste-hauling business to his son, Jerry.

The younger Bliss is appealing the denial of his request for a hauling permit from the Missouri Hazardous Waste Management Commission. Jerry Bliss, 26, said he should not be penalized for the actions of his father.

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