WASHINGTON - John Kerry's expected cakewalk to the U.S. State Department has delighted American environmentalists due to his stance on climate change, but the longtime senator owns stock in two Canadian oil companies that have pushed for approval of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline.

Federal financial disclosure records show Kerry has investments of as much as US$750,000 in Suncor, a Calgary-based energy company whose CEO has urged the U.S. to greenlight TransCanada's controversial project.

The longtime Massachusetts senator, one of the wealthiest lawmakers on Capitol Hill with an estimated net worth of $193 million, also has as much as $31,000 invested in Cenovus Energy, another Calgary firm.

The lawmaker will likely have to divest of those holdings, or put them in blind trust if they aren't already, following an ongoing federal ethics review that is standard procedure for would-be U.S. cabinet secretaries.

But one environmentalist expressed disappointment on Thursday.

"Given what we know about the fossil fuel industry and their apparent desire to cook the planet, it's immoral to have investments in these companies," Daniel Kessler of 350.org, an organization that's started a fossil fuel divestment campaign, said Thursday.

"We look forward to Sen. Kerry as secretary of state given his commitment to climate issues, but he has to divest of these investments."

Susan Casey-Lefkowitz of the National Resources Defense Council said she was confident Kerry would remain a staunch environmentalist as secretary of state, regardless of his past investments.

"Sen. Kerry has obviously been a strong leader on climate change and we don't think that's going to change as secretary of state," she said.

"I think we can have faith that he'll do whatever's needed to make sure he has no conflicts of interest on this issue."

Kerry and his wealthy wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry — the heir to the Heinz ketchup fortune — have a large collection of international investments. Some of them would clearly pose conflicts of interest for him as secretary of state.

"As is routine for any Senate-confirmed nominee, Sen. Kerry's financial disclosure form and ethics agreement will be released as part of the nomination and confirmation process," the White House said this week.

Kerry is expected to breeze through his U.S. Senate confirmation hearings next week to become America's next top diplomat, one whose devotion to environmental issues has been making proponents of Keystone XL nervous.

The legislator, after all, has long been one of the most fierce environmentalists on Capitol Hill, leading unsuccessful efforts three years ago to push greenhouse gas legislation through Congress.

In the coming weeks, the State Department will determine the fate of Keystone XL because it crosses an international border. The $7 billion project would carry bitumen extracted from Alberta's carbon-intensive oilsands to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Kerry has provided no clues about Keystone's prospects since being tapped by the Obama administration as Hillary Clinton's replacement at State.

"I've got confirmation hearings — you'll hear about it," Kerry told reporters recently on Capitol Hill when asked if Keystone would get the greenlight.

American environmentalists, however, aren't resting on their laurels waiting for Kerry's limousine to pull up to the State Department. A coalition of environmental groups released a pair of reports on Thursday suggesting Keystone's impact on the climate is much worse than previously believed.

The reports claim Keystone XL would play a critical role in tripling oilsands production by 2030, which in turn would result in far more greenhouse gas emissions than originally estimated.

One of Kerry's closest allies on climate issues in Congress — Rep. Henry Waxman of California— issued a stern statement on the findings.

"The new reports show that TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline is the key that will unlock the tarsands," he said.

"If the pipeline is approved, the world will face millions more tons of carbon pollution each year for decades to come. After Hurricane Sandy, devastating drought, unprecedented wildfires, and the warmest year on record in the United States, we know that climate change is happening now, we have to fight it now, and we must say no to this pollution pipeline now."

TransCanada was dismissive of the studies.

"This is the latest attempt by professional activists who oppose Keystone XL to change the discussion — there is nothing new," spokesman Shawn Howard said in a statement.

"The real issue is whether or not the proposed Keystone XL pipeline meets the regulatory standards to be granted a presidential permit for crossing an international border. In our view, it not only meets American standards, it exceeds them."

Pipeline proponents were also busy on Thursday.

Ten Republican governors and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall sent a joint letter to President Barack Obama urging him to approve the pipeline, calling it crucial for energy security and the future economic prosperity of both countries.

"We wanted to work together with our friends in the United States, with these governors, and put forward what we think is a very compelling case for the U.S. administration to approve Keystone," Wall told reporters in Regina.

"Just because all facts on all sides are heard doesn't mean we should stop trying to influence the decision."

Wall added he's "hopeful" Kerry, as secretary of state, would green-light the pipeline.

"We had a chance to meet recently ... and we had an excellent discussion about energy and we talked about oil," Wall said.

"It's better for the United States, it's better for Canada, if North America has a greater energy independence. I think Sen. Kerry shares that."

TransCanada officials have put on a brave public face about Kerry, pointing to the recent all-clear Keystone received from Nebraska officials after they proposed an alternate route for the pipeline.

The new route skirts an ecologically fragile area of the state after Obama raised concerns about the pipeline's original path when he rejected TransCanada's application last year.

Kerry's confirmation hearings begin on Thursday with a Q and A session with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — of which he's the chairman. He's expected to easily win confirmation from the committee and, ultimately, the Democratic-controlled Senate.

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  • John Kerry (2013-Present)

    John Kerry leaves a Senate Foreign Relations Committee markup on Jan. 29, 2013 after a vote was held on his confirmation as Secretary of State. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Hillary Clinton (2009-13)

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at a press conference on November 14, 2012. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Condoleezza Rice (2005-09)

    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice talks about the State Department's 2007 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices during a March 11, 2008 briefing in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Colin Powell (2001-05)

    U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks on June 22, 2004, about a corrected version of an inaccurate terrorism report issued by the government. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Madeleine Albright (1997-2001)

    U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright delivers a Russia policy briefing on September 16, 1999 in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Warren Christopher (1993-97)

    U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher briefs reporters on the peace process in Bosnia during a Dec. 8, 1995 press conference. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Lawrence Eagleburger (1992-93)

    Then-acting Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger listens to a reporter's question during a Nov. 18, 1992 news conference at the State Department. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • James Baker (1989-92)

    James Baker III waves to his associates at the US State Department on August 13, 1992. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • George P. Shultz (1982-89)

    U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz listens to a question during his first day of testimony before Iran-Contra investigators on July 23, 1987 in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Alexander Haig (1981-82)

    Alexander Haig, Secretary of State-designate, a Reagan nominee on Monday, Dec. 23, 1980 in Washington for the announcement of selections. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Edmund Muskie (1980-81)

    (Pictured left) Freed hostage Richard Queen, right, greets well wishers at the State Department on Monday, July 21, 1980 in Washington. At left is Secretary of State Edmund Muskie. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Cyrus Vance (1977-80)

    Cyrus Vance, U.S. Secretary of State, pictured in 1979. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Henry Kissinger (1973-77)

    Secretary of State Henry Kissinger announces during an April 29, 1975 press conference in Washington that the evacuation of Americans from Vietnam and Saigon is complete, thus ending US involvement. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • William P. Rogers (1969-73)

    Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, left, and Secretary of State William P. Rogers begin talks at the Department of State on Feb. 7, 1972 in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Dean Rusk (1961-69)

    Secretary of State Dean Rusk is shown during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on March 1, 1962. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Christian Herter (1959-61)

    President Dwight Eisenhower, left, says goodbye to Secretary of State Christian Herter in Gettsburg, Pennsylvania, on May 2, 1959 as Herter is about to board a helicopter on the President's farm to return to Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • John Foster Dulles (1953-59)

    U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles (left) gets together with South Korean President Syngman Rhee in Seoul on August 4, 1953. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Dean Acheson (1949-53)

    U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson speaks from the State Department on Nov. 29, 1950 in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • George C. Marshall (1947-49)

    Gen. George C. Marshall poses in his Red Cross office on Sept. 13, 1950 in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • James F. Byrnes (1945-47)

    James F. Byrnes, United States Secretary of State, links arms with Associated Press correspondent, John Hightower, at Central Hall, Westminster in London, Jan. 15, 1946. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Edward Reilly Stettinius (1944-45)

    France's Foreign Minister Georges Bidault makes a VE Day radio statement from the Opera House in San Francisco, CA, May 8, 1945. Seated at the far right U.S. Secretary of State Edward Stettinius. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>) <em><strong>Correction</strong>: An earlier version of this text misspelled Stettinius' surname.</em>

  • Cordell Hull (1933-44)

    U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt is greeted by Secretary of State Cordell Hull on Sept. 15, 1938 in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Henry Lewis Stimson (1929-33)

    Henry Lewis Stimson, American Secretary of State for War shown around July 1931. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Frank B. Kellogg (1925-29)

    Former United States Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg on Aug. 17, 1936 at Waterloo Station in London. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Charles Evans Hughes (1921-25)

    (Center) Former Secretary of State and Chief justice Charles Evans Hughes, pictured on on March 27, 1931. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)