Rep. Cory GardnerCory GardnerMcConnell huddles with GOP rep to discuss possible ND Senate opening GOP senator: Congress will ‘undo the damage’ from Obama Senate GOP to Obama: Stop issuing new rules MORE (R-Colo.) said Department of Energy Secretary Ernest MonizErnest MonizFederal task force recommends safety upgrades for gas storage Energy secretary: ‘We got it right’ on Iran deal Overnight Energy: Trump visits Flint | GOP chairman defends subpoenas in climate probe MORE sounded “belligerent” when he said criticisms of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) export application process were unfounded.

“I very much disagree with Secretary Moniz that criticism for his Department’s lack of urgency in approving LNG export applications is ‘B.S.,’ ” Gardner said on Monday. “The only player that doesn’t believe that the Department of Energy needs to expedite permits to export LNG is the Department of Energy. Secretary Moniz’s belligerent tone on the issue shows just how out of touch he truly is.”

Gardner, who is running for Senate against Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), said more than 20 applications are pending approval to export LNG.

The House has passed legislation that would force the Department of Energy to streamline its approval process, but the Senate hasn’t taken up Gardner’s bill.

“It’s not just industry that has voiced concerns over the current application approval process,” Gardner said. “The House of Representatives passed my bill to expedite the approval process for LNG export applications with overwhelming bipartisan support, and our allies from around the world have emphasized the importance of United States LNG exports time and time again.”

Europe heavily relies on Russia for natural gas, but with the threat of sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Crimea, some lawmakers have called on the United States to help out U.S. allies who don’t want to be beholden to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Lawmakers who don’t want to increase natural gas exports argue it would increase domestic energy prices for consumers.