The couple owns $300,000 to $600,000 of stock in TransCanada, the pipeline firm, and they own stakes of more than $1.25 million each in four Canadian companies — Imperial, Encana, Enbridge and Cenovus — that have been active in the oil sands region of northern Alberta. Enbridge is also the company whose pipeline ruptured and spilled crude into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan last year.
Rice and her husband also own shares of major Canadian banks that are expected to provide financing for the Keystone XL project. They own between $50,000 and $100,000 of shares in Suncor, another oil sands company, and more than $1.25 million of shares in Transalta, the Alberta’s electric power producer.
Rice, who is the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and considered the leading candidate to become President Obama’s nominee for State, listed the holdings in her most recent disclosure statement, covering the 2011 calendar year. The information was highlighted in an article published on the Web site of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s OnEarth magazine. The NRDC is opposed to the construction of the $7 billion pipeline.
“We oppose the Keystone XL,” said NRDC associate director of communications Bob Deans. “It would send some of the dirtiest oil on the planet through the breadbasket of America to be shipped overseas from the Gulf of Mexico. It’s not in our national interest: it’s a profit scheme for big oil.”
There is nothing inappropriate about the investments, and Rice’s connections to Canada go back 20 years, when she was working in the Toronto office of the McKinsey & Co. consulting firm and her husband, Ian Cameron, was a television producer there for the Canadian Broadcasting Co. Cameron, who like Rice graduated from Stanford University, is from Canada.
Rice and Cameron are well off. They were worth between $23.5 million and $43.5 million in 2009, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. (Those figures were also highlighted on the OnEarth Web site.)
In a statement, Rice’s spokeswoman, Erin Pelton said “Ambassador Rice is in full compliance with all financial disclosure requirements related to her service in the U.S. government and is committed to continuing to meet these obligations.”
Rice has not been nominated for the position of Secretary of State, although Obama has defended her qualifications for the job. If she did become secretary of state, Rice could also sell the shares or put them into a blind trust and try to retain her authority to issue or deny the pipeline permit.
At a time when Obama is fighting Republicans opposed to Rice, the financial disclosure form is likely to draw scrutiny from Democrats and environmental activists who have been among the president’s most reliable supporters.