A letter appearing in The Portland Press Herald on Dec. 6 included a reference to oil from Canadian oil sands as being “one of the dirtiest energy sources in the world.”

To single out Canadian crude oil is unfair. Analysis shows that greenhouse gas emissions from oil sands are only slightly higher than the average crude oil consumed in the U.S. on a life-cycle basis. In fact, oil sands crude has similar life-cycle GHG emissions as other forms of heavy crude oil used in North America, including production from California, and compares to Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. Oil sands projects operate within strict regulatory frameworks that cover land and tailings reclamation, water use limits and provincial GHG reduction targets.

Over the last 20 years, GHG emissions per barrel of oil were reduced by 29 percent. And there are technologies under development to further reduce emissions. It is also important to note that the industry is increasingly employing drilled or in situ oil sands production. This process involves no open pit mining, no tailings ponds and, on average, reduces water consumption from 10 barrels of water to one barrel to produce a barrel of oil. In situ operations recycle up to 90 percent of water used in production. The oil sands are also an economic engine contributing substantially to employment and the gross domestic product on both sides of the border. More than 900 American companies provide goods and services to the oil sands, including many in New England.

Like the U.S., Canada is moving towards a lower-carbon energy economy. Canadians and Americans are working together toward our shared goals of lower carbon emissions and less reliance on fossil fuels.

Canada is a leading supplier of hydro-electric power in the world, much of which is used in New England. Hydro is replacing many Canadian coal-fired plants. We are also a major supplier of wind energy throughout the Northeast, including Maine.

As the transition will take time, rest assured that we will continue to cooperate, through projects like the Keystone XL pipeline, to ensure a reliable, responsible and secure energy supply between our two countries.

Pat Binns is the consul general of Canada to New England.