Plouffe's Pipeline

Senior Obama adviser owned stocks in companies backing Keystone XL

March 23, 2012

Senior Obama adviser David Plouffe’s personal financial decisions do not coincide with his boss’s political agenda.

According to Plouffe’s financial disclosure report for 2010, he owned stock in two Canadian companies that support the full construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Plouffe reported annual dividends of up to $2,500 for investments in both Canadian National Railway (CNR) and Cenovus Energy, two firms that have publicly backed Keystone XL.

"The development of the Keystone XL Pipeline is something that, we believe, would bring a great deal of prosperity to both the United States and Canada," said Amgad Shehata, chairman of the Canadian American Business Council (of which CNR is a member) earlier this week. "Creating a reliable and, most of all, secure, source of energy that is truly North American is something that will help stimulate recovery on both sides of the border."

President Obama, meanwhile, opposes the pipeline and has strongly resisted Congressional efforts to advance its construction, even threatening to veto a bill supported by members of both parties. White House press secretary Jay Carney dismissed the bill as "ineffectual, sham legislation." Proponents say the pipeline could create up to 20,000 American jobs.

The Keystone XL pipeline would be operated by the Canadian company TransCanada, and would carry oil from northwest Canada to the U.S. Gulf coast in Texas. The portion of the pipeline crossing the border between the countries requires the Obama administration’s approval to move forward.

The only positive action Obama has taken thus far is to announce his support for the southern portion of the pipeline running from Oklahoma to Texas, the construction of which does not require presidential approval.