Inconsistency on Oil Sands

Hillary Clinton had a big announcement the other day, declaring her opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline.  Her decision stems in part from her view that the particular oil that will be transported through this pipeline is “dirtier” than other oil, because it comes from “oil sands,” and thus we should not let it enter our pristine country.  In this regard, she said:  ”We shouldn’t be building a pipeline dedicated to moving North America’s dirtiest fuel through our communities,” and “American energy policy is about more than a single pipeline to transport Canada’s dirtiest fuel across our country.”

As it turns out, we also have some oil sands here in the U.S., out in beautiful, pristine Utah.  And guess what?  Someone is about to start producing oil from them (a Canadian company!): 

… the first commercial oilsands mine in the United States is just months away from starting up after receiving final regulatory approvals from officials in Utah late last week.

“We’ll be in production later in the fall with commercial production before the end of the year,” U.S. Oil Sands Inc. chief executive Cameron Todd said in a phone interview Tuesday.

Calgary-based U.S. Oil Sands is working through the summer to complete a 2,000-barrel-per-day oilsands mine in eastern Utah,  which would make it the first commercial oilsands mine in the United States when it begins producing later this year.

It sounds kind of inconsistent to block the transport of this oil through the U.S., while allowing its production in the U.S.  No doubt this inconsistency will play a role in any international litigation under NAFTA that might be taken against the U.S. government’s failure to approve Keystone, which is already being talked about by some international lawyers, if it comes to that.