Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Gov. Nixon sidelines DNR Director

Gov. Jay Nixon has put the director of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on unpaid administrative leave for two weeks after new revelations about how the agency handled high E.Coli levels at Lake of the Ozarks in May.

Nixon, who spoke to reporters on a conference call from Branson, said he learned on Tuesday that Park Beach 1 at the lake was not closed as DNR documents had indicated.

The Governor said DNR documents provided to him showed that Park Beach 1 was closed after May 18th and May 27th tests showed high levels of E.Coli. But that was not the case.

Nixon called the revelations "unconscionable" and "nothing short of an outrage."

"These were abysmal failures," said Gov. Nixon, putting blame on "individuals in the department."

He added that the inaccurate documents allowed him to "unwittingly pass along false information," which he said he regretted.

As a result, Director Mark Templeton has been put on unpaid administrative leave.

Nixon has ordered the interim director to launch a full investigation of the mistakes made.

More to come on The Notebook and on Ky3 News @ 5, 6 and 10.

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