ThinkProgress Green has learned that TransCanada, the foreign tar sands company behind the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, is facing a potential inquiry into whether it deliberately deceived investors by inflating the job-creation potential of the project. Greenpeace has filed a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over TransCanada’s “false or misleading statements about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project.”
In the complaint, Greenpeace shows evidence from TransCanada’s Canadian filings and the State Department that the project would involve fewer than 1000 in-state jobs, and around 6000 total jobs. This evidence is contrasted with TransCanada’s (TRP) repeated public pronouncements that pipeline construction would involve 20,000 American jobs:
Specifically, TRP has asserted that each mile of KXL pipeline constructed in the U.S. would create American jobs at a rate that is 67 times higher than job creation totals given by the company to Canadian officials for the Canadian portion of the pipeline.
These false and misleading job creation numbers are part of TRP’s lobbying and public relations campaign designed to create congressional pressure on the U.S. government to issue a Presidential Permit approving construction of KXL. Without government approval, TRP will not be able to build KXL, which will significantly impact the company’s future earnings and share price. That government approval was thrown into serious doubt last week when President Obama rejected the current KXL pipeline proposal at the State Department’s recommendation.
It may be legal to lie to the American public, but it is an actionable offense to deceive shareholders under U.S. securities disclosure laws.
Download the Greenpeace SEC TransCanada letter here.