Susan E. Rice
© Bebeto Matthews / AP
Susan E. Rice may be the arbiter of the Keystone Pipeline decision, with a half million stake in the game.
The shoulders on which the Keystone Pipeline XL decision may fall happens to have a half-million dollar stake in the game. Secretary of State hopeful and current U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Susan E. Rice reportedly owns between $300,000 and $600,000 of TransCanada stock.

The company is seeking a federal permit to transport Canadian tar sands 1,700 miles to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast, crossing both fragile Midwest ecosystems and the largest freshwater aquifer in North America.

According to full disclosure reports, Rice - the potential arbiter of this grant - reportedly has a third of her significant net worth tied up in oil producers, pipeline operators, and related energy industries.

In addition to the half a million invested in Transcanada, Rice has between $1,250,000 to $1,500,000 of assets in Enbridge Oil which, Scott Dodd writing for OnEarth notes, "spilled more than a million gallons of toxic bitumen into Michigan's Kalamazoo River in 2010 - the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history."

Dodd points out that Rice and her husband own at least $1.25 million worth of stock in four of Canada's eight leading oil producers, including Enbridge, as ranked by Forbes magazine.

"It's really amazing that they're considering someone for Secretary of State who has millions invested in these companies," said environmental leader and founder, Bill McKibben.

The approval of the Keystone XL pipeline is being spearheaded by the State Department since successful environmental campaigning prompted President Barack Obama to delay authorization until at least 2013.