State officials sat for four weeks on a report that showed E. coli was above safe levels in the Lake of the Ozarks around Memorial Day.
Heavy rains in May washed the hazardous bacteria into the lake, which has since returned to safe levels. But for a month the Missouri Department of Natural Resources refused to show the report to residents who demanded to see it.
DNR officials said this week that they withheld the report because they were concerned about the impact it would have on tourism and the public.
“We wanted to make sure we understood the problem,” said Susanne Medley, DNR spokeswoman. “Business and tourism was a consideration. We didn’t want to panic the people.”
Indeed. Incurring the wrath of a deceived populace and opening a state agency up to Sunshine Law violations and potential legal repercussions seems like a much better way to go.
Statement from an MDNR official:
“Oh, riiiiight…the Department of Natural Resources is supposed to concern itself with the environment. We thought we’d been consolidated with the Dept. of Tourism as a result of budget concerns. Our bad.”