State withholds Lake of the Ozarks bacteria report for fear of hurting business
Osage Beach, Mo. – A Missouri state agency suppressed a report that showed unsafe E. coli bacteria levels in the Lake of the Ozarks.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources said it withheld the report around Memorial Day because of concerns it would hurt tourism and business in the area.
Heavy rains in May are partly responsible for the high E. coli bacteria counts. The DNR says the lake has since returned to safe levels.
But for a month, the agency refused to show the report to residents who were demanding to see it.
DNR spokeswoman Susanne Medley said the agency wanted to make sure it didn't panic the public.
But some critics say the decision not to release the report immediately was a cover-up that put the economy above public health.