Biologists to be mum to media on OLF matters

Published 5:55 am Thursday, February 1, 2007

By Staff
Vickery: Gag-order notion ‘absurd’
By NIKIE MAYO, News Editor
Biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can no longer talk to the media about the Navy’s proposed outlying landing field here — a move environmental attorneys call a gag order, but federal spokesmen term standard procedure.
But a spokesman for the Interior Department called Carter’s release “a complete fabrication as far as I can tell.”
Local biologist Wendy Stanton was quoted in a press release about a record number of birds seen near Navy-termed “Site C” in December. That release was sent out by North Carolinians Opposed to an Outlying Landing Field earlier this month.
Stanton works at the Pungo unit of the Pocosin National Wildlife Refuge, which is about 3.5 miles from the Navy’s preferred OLF site on the border of Washington and Beaufort counties. Stanton saw more birds at the refuge in December than she has seen at similar time frames during the last nine years, according to the NO-OLF release.
Tom MacKenzie, a spokesman for the Fish and Wildlife Service’s work in the southeast region, said the media-referral process is done simply to make sure everyone’s on the same page.