Iowa environmentalists complain state oversight of Iowa beaches is lax, while a state official says more testing’s being done than ever before.Amber Hard of the Iowa Public Interest Research Group says state officials are only posting warnings at beaches when they should be closing them if water contamination levels exceed federal standards. Hard says there were 454 Iowa beach closings and advisories in 2001, but this spring, state officials said rather than shutting a beach down, they’d only post a warning when there are high levels of bacteria found in the water.But Stefanie Forret of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says there are no beaches in the state, today, that fail to meet federal safe-water guidelines. And Forret says the state’s actually doing MORE testing today than it did last year. Forret says closing beaches doesn’t make sense since the quality of the water can change by the time the test results are processed. She says the bacteria levels shift so dramatically that it’s hard to say when to close a beach.The women debated the issue this morning along a beach in Des Moines. Iowa is among 14 states that regularly monitor the water along beaches.
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