Canada's Alberta province has hired the politically connected Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti in its push for Washington approval of the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline to transport tar sands crude oil to Texas.

The State Dept. issued a report on March 1 that said the proposed route of the pipeline presented no major environmental danger, but it fell short of recommending construction. The State Dept. has scheduled public hearings on Keystone in Nebraska on April 18.

Prior to MVC, David Castagnetti served as director of congressional outreach for Secretary of State John Kerry during his presidential run. Kerry, a supporter of global warming legislation, has been mum on Keystone.

Castagnetti is joined at MVC by other named partners Bruce Mehlman, President George W. Bush’s assistant secretary for commerce for technology policy, and Alex Vogel, chief counsel for ex-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

MVC’s $75K contract to educate U.S. government officials about the Keystone XL pipeline and Alberta’s energy resources began March 15 and runs to June 1. 

The firm also will pitch Alberta’s global climate change policies to “ensure there is a comprehensive understanding of the breadth and stringency of Alberta’s regulatory environment.”

President Obama is expected to make a decision on construction of the Keystone pipeline in June.