Taking a page from the Donald Trump playbook, officials at the Environmental Protection Agency attacked a reporter by name for writing what they called an "incredibly misleading story" about the agency's efforts in Hurricane-ravaged Houston, Politico reports. The article, written Saturday for the AP by Michael Biesecker and Jason Dearen, reports that at least seven of the city's 41 Superfund sites (the most contaminated toxic waste sites in the country) had been flooded by rain from Hurricane Harvey and that the EPA had been unable to visit them, saying the sites "had not been accessible by response personnel." The article stated that AP journalists had accessed at least one of the sites by boat and others by "a vehicle or on foot."
The EPA took issue with the article's claims in a statement released Sunday, saying, “Despite reporting from the comfort of Washington, Biesecker had the audacity to imply that agencies aren’t being responsive to the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey. Not only is this inaccurate, but it creates panic and politicizes the hard work of first responders who are actually in the affected area.” Later that day, the AP refuted the EPA's claims in a statement of its own, writing, "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." (Read more Hurricane Harvey stories.)