How Susan Rice stands to gain from Canada's oil sands development

Cenovus, Enbridge, TransCanada, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, all have one thing in common: they stand to gain from the development of the tar sands and pipeline industry.

Pegged to replace Hilary Clinton as President Obama's Secretary of State, Rice and her Canadian husband together hold millions in stocks of major energy companies.

According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), Rice holds $1,251,003 to $1,515,001 in Cenovus Energy (an oil extraction company in the Alberta Tar Sands), $1,250,002 to $1,500,001 in Enbridge Inc (who plan to construct the Northern Gateway Pipeline), and $300,002 to $600,000 in Transcanada Corp (who plan to construct the Keystone XL Pipeline) (USD), amongst many other resource development firms.

However, for Keystone XL to begin construction in the United States, a new environmental review and subsequent permit for TransCanada is required.

This process is to be decided upon by the next Secretary of State.

Were Susan Rice to take on this position, a clear conflict of interest would have to be noted by federal officials, as Dan Auble of the CRP recommends, but he notes that it may not be a sure thing.

As arguably the second richest individual in the Obama cabinet today (next to Clinton), she may not need to hold onto these stocks as she holds millions in assets within dozens of other firms (which include a surprising amount of other Canadian companies).

Ambassador Rice has not been selected as Secretary of State, however, and Senator John Kerry is also a leading candidate for the post amongst others, and does not have any vested interest with any tar sands or pipeline-associated industries.

If Senator John McCain really wishes to block Susan Rices path to the cabinet post, perhaps finding allies within the Canadian environmental movement could be a boon to his aim.

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