Missouri Senate panel to investigate withheld E. coli report

Thursday, July 23, 2009 | 3:58 p.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri lawmakers will investigate claims that a state agency withheld a report showing unsafe levels of E. coli in the Lake of the Ozarks.

A Senate committee focusing on environmental issues said Thursday it would hold hearings on how the Department of Natural Resources handled the E. coli report. Dates for the hearings will be announced later.

The department is accused of refusing to turn over public documents about bacteria levels in the lake. Results of tests conducted May 26 weren't released until June 26, when lower E. coli levels from later testing also were reported. A department spokeswoman initially said the E. coli report was withheld over tourism concerns.

Attorney General Chris Koster already is reviewing complaints that the department violated state open records laws.

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