Michael Brune, the Sierra Club's executive director, sought to parry the notion that gas exports are a way to bolster Europe's energy security.
"The idea that we should promote an increased dependence on another volatile fossil fuel as a solution to a long-standing problem reflects an inability to embrace the idea that we have to fight climate change effectively," he said on a call with reporters Tuesday.
The White House has been more circumspect than some Capitol Hill Republicans when it comes to gas exports as a way to aid Ukraine, or Europe overall, which relies on Russia for almost a third of its gas.
And sure, there are plenty of reasons to be: U.S. LNG shipments would not start flowing until next year at the soonest, and there are infrastructure constraints in Europe, among other barriers.
Anyway U.S. exporters, critics note, can fetch higher prices in Asia than Europe, although boosters say that more molecules on the global market overall translates into more supplies available to Europe.
But the White House nonetheless also appears open to viewing U.S. exports as a long-term way to help lessen European reliance on Russian gas, a lot of which is piped through Ukraine.
On Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden and administration officials, on the VP's trip to Eastern Europe, made clear that energy policy is a big part of the response to Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula.
"In the coming weeks, we'll be meeting with our European partners to discuss ways to further diversify their source and supplies of energy. This will help improve energy security and it will ensure that no nation can use the supply of gas as a political weapon against any other nation," Biden, in a pointed reference to Russia, said alongside Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on Tuesday.
A number of ideas are in play, dealing with energy efficiency and new supply sources, to help reduce reliance on Russian gas in Ukraine and Europe more broadly.
Among them: Helping European countries reproduce the fracking-enabled shale gas boom that has sent U.S. gas production to record levels.
"The U.S. has worked closely with the Poles, both in terms of technology with our companies, and in terms of their regulatory structure in Poland to exploit shale reserves," a senior administration official said.
It's part of what could growing European interest in fracking, which has been banned in several nations including France and Bulgaria.
"The Russian invasion of the Crimean Peninsula is giving Europe new enthusiasm for fracking," wrote Keith Johnson in Foreign Policy last week.
Government officials in the U.K., along with the Eastern European nations of Poland, Romania, and Ukraine have all expressed interest in shale gas development, despite varying degrees of pushback from public health and safety advocates.