The province paid $55,800 to place an ad with a letter from Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach in a Washington newspaper. ((CBC))

A letter from Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach touting the benefits of province's oilsands to the United States was published Friday in a paid half-page advertisement in the Washington Post.

In it, Stelmach says Alberta is a stable, responsible and reliable source of energy and defends the province's oilsands environmental record.

"Improved access via projects like the Keystone XL pipeline will benefit the U.S. economically and allow your country to continue to receive oil from a country whose environmental and social goals are similar to yours," the letter says.

The title of the letter also plays up the friendly tone:  "A good neighbour lends you a cup of sugar. A great neighbour supplies you with 1.4 million barrels of oil per day."

The province paid $55,800 to place the ad after the newspaper rejected Stelmach's piece for its op-ed page.

"We felt it was important to get out some information about the role of oilsands in U.S. energy supply, about the volume of oil that comes from Alberta, not just from oilsands," the premier's spokesman Jerry Bellikka said Friday, adding the province wanted to clear up inaccurate information about the oilsands.

"A lot of the critics out there — people who want to shut down the oilsands — aren't constrained by facts. We felt it was important for us to get out some factual information."

U.S. lawmakers want project delayed

The letter comes as American politicians debate the expansion of the Keystone XL project. Recently, 50 members of the U.S. House of Representatives came out against the project, citing concerns the pipeline would double the country's consumption of crude from the oilsands.


Jerry Bellikka a spokesman for Premier Stelmach, says the ad is intended to clear up incorrect information about the Alberta oilsands. (CBC)

In a June 23 letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, they urged the Obama administration to do a full assessment of the environmental impacts of the oilsands before allowing the project to go ahead.

The proposed TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline would bring Canadian crude oil to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The pipeline expansion would start in Hardisty, Alta., and continue through Saskatchewan and the United States, where it would connect with another Keystone pipeline.

Alberta Greenpeace campaigner Mike Hudema said the province needs to deal with problems associated with the oilsands.

"They're not going to solve the environmental impacts of the tarsands by placing ads in papers or launching new PR campaigns," he said.

"The only way they're going to do that is by actually cleaning up a toxic industry."

With files from The Canadian Press