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The Keystone oil pipeline is pictured under construction in North Dakota.Reuters

An ad campaign touting Canada as a friendly, reliable – even green – supplier of oil launched Monday as the Harper government seeks to prop up its case for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline intended to funnel Alberta's oil sands crude to Texas refineries.

Targeted at lobbyists and lawmakers the ads ran Monday in  Politico and The Hill – all prime turf for the powerful inside-the-Beltway crowd – and touted Keystone as a big part of the answer to America's energy needs. They will also appear in other major publications later.

In conjunction with the advertisements, the government also launched a website containing the same information.

The taxpayer-funded campaign doesn't solely focus on TransCanada's private $5.3-billion pipeline proposal designed to link the vast oil sands reserves with massive refineries along the Gulf coast and thus provide the vital access to major markets that will, in turn, permit further oil sands development. There also is a major effort to portray Canada as a leader in curtailing greenhouse gases and environmentally responsible. Both claims are apparently intended to deflect attacks by anti-Keystone XL groups.

The ad campaign seems a response to increasingly strident efforts by environmental groups and others who paint Keystone XL as a tipping-point decision – one that will show whether President Barack Obama is serious about his commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions linked to looming climate changes.

Mr. Harper will visit New York later this week, following a steady stream of lobbying trips by provincial premiers and federal ministers attempting to make the case for Keystone. The Prime Minister has called the long-delayed decision a "no brainer" but Mr. Obama isn't expected to decide until this fall.