By Julian Pecquet - 11/30/12 03:48 PM EST
A liberal group launched an online petition Friday demanding that potential secretary of State nominee Susan Rice divest herself of “every dollar of stock” in the Canadian company seeking approval for the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline to the Gulf Coast.
The revelation has opened Rice up to criticism from environmentalists at a time when several Senate Republicans have vowed to oppose her because of her early statements about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.
Green groups are pressing the White House to require that any nominee for the position divest themselves of any stock in TransCanada or other oil sands companies.
“It's indefensible that Rice has millions of dollars invested in oil companies and banks that will make huge profits if the State Department gives approval to the XL pipeline,” reads the petition from RootsAction.org, which claims almost 200,000 members.
“As a high-ranking administration official — and a potential replacement for Hillary Clinton early next year to run the State Department — Susan Rice shouldn't have any stake in corporations that are doing all they can to plunder tar sands in Canada and send carbon emissions soaring even faster.”
Rice is still seen as the favorite to get the nomination because of her close ties to President Obama since serving as his senior foreign policy adviser during the 2008 campaign.
She failed to change the minds of her Republican opponents during a two-day visit to Capitol Hill this week, however, setting up a bitter confirmation fight if Obama nominates her to replace Hillary Clinton.