The Associated Press on Sunday defended its reporting on the Environmental Protection Agency's actions in flooded Superfund sites in Houston after the federal agency criticized an AP reporter by name for what it called "an incredibly misleading story."
“AP’s exclusive story was the result of on the ground reporting at Superfund sites in and around Houston, as well as AP’s strong knowledge of these sites and EPA practices," AP's executive editor Sally Buzbee said in a statement.
"We object to the EPA’s attempts to discredit that reporting by suggesting it was completed solely from “the comforts of Washington” and stand by the work of both journalists who jointly reported and wrote the story.”
The EPA defended its work in Texas following the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey after the AP reported that the agency had failed to conduct on-the-ground inspections of some Houston-area Superfund sites.
In return, an EPA press release ripped the reporter by name for co-writing an article that it said created "panic," adding that the report was "an incredibly misleading story about toxic land sites that are underwater."
The reporter "had the audacity to imply that agencies aren't being responsive to the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey," the agency said.
The EPA said that it had conducted initial assessments of dozens of Superfund sites in impacted areas using "aerial images" and that it had been in touch with those handling the cleanup of such areas.
The EPA briefly restricted access to the online press release on Sunday, though the statement has since been restored.