Aboriginal leaders say decision-makers in Washington, D.C., were unaware but receptive to their arguments about the environmental consequences of oilsands development.

Francois Paulette and George Poitras have been meeting with officials from the U.S. State Department, the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Department of the Interior.

The message they delivered is that fuel made from Alberta’s oilsands is “dirty” and contributes to climate change and pollution that is hurting people, animals, birds and fish.

The two men called on the Americans not to approve the proposed TransCanada Corp. Keystone XL pipeline that would ship oilsands oil into the U.S.

They say the Americans made no commitments, but are considering an invitation to visit aboriginal communities that are being affected by the oilsands.

Paulette is with the Smith’s Landing Treaty 8 First Nation in the Northwest Territories and Poitras is the former chief of the Mikisew Cree in Alberta.