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Board member refuses recusal on pipeline over climate change

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A member of the Iowa Utilities Board who has minimized climate change in meetings about the proposed Bakken oil pipeline project has refused to recuse himself from voting on the project.

Nick Wagner, a Republican who lost his Iowa House seat to a Democrat in 2012, is one of three board members expected to vote next month on the pipeline. He filed an order Feb. 18 denying the motion to recuse filed by opponents.

Wagner has said acknowledging a link between fossil fuels and climate change might hurt his political career.

Environmentalists say climate change should be a major consideration and Wagner demonstrated he cannot be impartial and shouldn’t vote.

Wagner believes climate change shouldn’t carry great weight and says he’d never put personal interests ahead of public interest.

In related news, North Dakota regulators approve Dakota Access Pipeline.

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