Minority members of the senate committee that has investigated the reporting of contamination at the Lake of the Ozarks call the majority report “factually challenged.” The report signed by majority Republican members of the committee was sent to all committee members last Thursday for comments and recommended changes. Many committee members already had left the Capitol for the week and Democratic members say they were surprised by news accounts that the committee report charges the natural resources department botched release of information about lake contamination.
Democratic Senator Tim Green says the Republican committee members went on a partisan witch hunt designed to harm members of theNixon administration–although the committee was formed to recommend policy changes to assure timely reporting of information. He’s upset that one part of the report accuses DNR of violating the spirit of the state open records law. Actually, he says, Attorney General Koster has ruled DNR did not violate the law. Green also says the report claims people have gotten sick from swimming in contaminated water although no testimony was offered in hearings to support that claim. A spokesman for a three-county booster association says the hospital at Lake Ozark has no record of illnesses from e-coli contamination.
Green says committee chairman Brad Lager asked Democrats on January 5th for possible changes. Green, who submitted ideas on the 12th, says he assumed the committee would discuss them but never did.
Lager says Green was the only one of the three Democrats to make some recommendations, that the committee never held a meeting to discuss those recommendations, and that at least some of Green’s suggestions are in the draft report circulated last week. Lager says he’s willing to go through the Democrat’s suggestions this week and will integrate them if possible before putting out the final report.