OnEarth magazine recently looked into Susan Rice’s financial holdings and found that she has a large chunk of money—stock valued between $300,000 to $600,000, to be exact—invested in TransCanada, the company behind the infamous Keystone XL pipeline as well as other major fossil fuel companies.
If the senate confirms Ambassador Rice as the nation’s next Secretary of State, she will become responsible for reviewing the Keystone XL pipeline, as TransCanada has reapplied for a permit for the project’s cross-border, northern half.
President Obama denied the original construction permit for the Keystone XL pipeline in January when TransCanada proposed the 1,700-mile pipeline as a single project. Since then, the corporation has split the pipeline into two halves and reapplied for a permit for the northern section. That portion needs presidential approval because it crosses an international border, whereas the southern leg does not and is currently under construction, albeit with many interruptions from activists with the Tar Sands Blockade.
The State Department is currently working on yet another draft of the Environmental Impact Statement for the project after the first two drafts proved inadequate, with much criticism from the Environmental Protection Agency.
The State Department has had conflict of interests over the Keystone XL pipeline in the past. TransCanada spent hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last four years lobbying in Washington to win approval for the project.
E-mails and 300 pages worth of other documents received by Friends of the Earth through a Freedom of Information Act request in the fall of 2011 revealed that one of the top TransCanada lobbyists, Paul Elliot, may have violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act by lobbying for the company before he was registered. Elliot was the former deputy director of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. Clinton was overseeing the review of the pipeline during that time.
Rice’s shares in the pipeline project have given some senators doubt as to whether they should confirm her to the post of Secretary of State. Sources told the Huffington Post that they are confident that if she is nominated to the position she would divest her shares in the company.