Federal judge dismisses Alaska's lawsuit over refuge closure during government shutdown

A federal judge has dismissed the state's lawsuit over the closure of national wildlife refuges during the partial federal government shutdown last year.

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U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason called case moot.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service restricted access to refuges nationwide during the 16-day shutdown last October. The state sued as Congress was poised to pass legislation to end the shutdown.

The lawsuit was later amended to add the Alaska Professional Hunters Association as plaintiffs.

The lawsuit claimed the closure violated provisions of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, and asked Gleason to block future closures that don't comply with the law.

Gleason said the feds' response to a future shutdown may be different.

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A Department of Law spokeswoman said the state was evaluating a possible appeal.