The possible nomination of Susan Rice for U.S. secretary of state may get a bit more controversial – and possibly draw criticism from environmentalists – after a new report this week found she has invested millions in Canadian oil companies that would benefit from a State Department’s approval to build the contentious Keystone XL Pipeline.
Rice is considered one of the prime candidates to replace Hillary Clinton when Clinton leaves the post after four years in January. Should the Senate confirm her, OnEarth, an environmental journal published by the Natural Resources Defense Council, reported Wednesday that among Rice’s duties would be considering a possible approval for the $7 billion pipeline.
Financial disclosure reports for 2011 show between $300,000 and $600,000 investment from Rice in TransCanada. That’s the company looking for a permit from the State Department to build a portion of the pipeline from Oklahoma to the Canadian border.
A call to the office of the U.S. mission to the U.N. was not returned by early Thursday afternoon. Therefore, it is unclear if Rice and her spouse would divest these holdings if nominated to be secretary of State.
The Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecret.org website states that in 2009, Rice and husband Ian Cameron had a net worth of $23.5 million to $43.5 million.
OnEarth’s Scott Dodd found that nearly a third of Rice’s net worth is invested in oil producers, pipeline operators, and other energy-related industries. Some of these companies have had poor environmental records.
One example is Enbridge Inc., a Canadian oil pipeline company that recently spilled more than 50,000 gallons of crude oil in rural Wisconsin. The Los Angeles Times reported that the spill was the company’s worst since the huge 2010 spill in Michigan after which Enbridge said it implemented safety reforms.
Rice has approximately $1.25 million invested up in Enbridge, one of the U.S. key suppliers of Canadian oil, according to OpenSecrets.org.