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Judge dismisses lawsuit challenging makeup

Posted: Tuesday, May 08, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- An Anchorage Superior Court judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit claiming the makeup of the Alaska Board of Game is illegal.

Judge Peter Michalski threw the case out after listening to oral arguments. He gave no explanation for his decision.

The lawsuit, filed by conservationists and the Alaska Wildlife Alliance, argued that the board violates the state constitutional principle that wildlife resources belong to all Alaskans. The board, it noted, is made up entirely of hunters while three-quarters of Alaska's adults do not hold hunting licenses.

The lawsuit asked the court to strip the board of its powers until new members representing nonhunters were appointed and confirmed.

''It's an important victory for hunters and trappers in the state,'' said Jesse Vanderzanden, director of the Alaska Outdoor Council. The council had intervened in the lawsuit on behalf of the state.

Paul Joslin, director of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance, said the board still has ''zero representation from the nonhunting community.'' He said his group will continue to work toward getting a better balance on the board but had not yet decided whether to appeal Michalski's decision.

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