Flights to offshore wildlife refuge in La. halted; officials say media frightening birds

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Federal officials have halted flights to the Breton National Wildlife Refuge off the Louisiana coast, saying aircraft hired by news organizations threaten the birds nesting in the barrier islands.

A statement Saturday from the Coast Guard and other officials overseeing the oil spill cleanup said the flights and landings threaten the very birds that the media are covering.

All access to the refuge has been closed as cleanup crews assess the damage from oil leaking from a well in the Gulf of Mexico.

The statement says the birds are leaving nests because of the flights, exposing eggs to predators.