EPA defends action on flooded Superfund sites in Houston

EPA defends action on flooded Superfund sites in Houston
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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this weekend sharply defended its work in Texas following the impact of Hurricane Harvey and warned that a story implying otherwise creates "panic" and "politicizes" the work of first responders. 

The agency ripped by name an Associated Press writer who reported that the EPA had not done on-the-ground inspections of some Houston-area Superfund sites after flooding. The statement called the report "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.

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"Not only is this inaccurate, but it creates panic and politicizes the hard work of first responders who are actually in the effected [sic] areas," the statement continued.

Superfunds are areas that are polluted with hazardous material and require extensive cleanup. 

The report said the Houston metro area includes more than 12 Superfund sites, which are some of the most contaminated places in the U.S. 

In total, the EPA said that it had conducted initial assessments at 41 Superfund sites in impacted areas using "aerial images" and contact with with those responsible for regular cleanup activities.

Thirteen Superfund sites have been flooded or could be facing damage as a result of the storm, according to the EPA.