WASHINGTON (WV News) — The Biden administration’s recent decision to pause the permitting process for future liquefied natural gas exports is an election-year stunt, according to U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.

Capito, during her weekly press briefing Thursday, said the move is meant to entice members of the “young environmental community” into supporting President Joe Biden’s re-election bid later this year.

“It seems to be a universal thought that this is a hat-tip to his young environmental community that he fears he is losing in this election,” she said. “So, purely political reasons.”

Last Friday, the Biden administration enacted a temporary pause on pending decisions on exports projects of liquefied natural gas to non-fair trade countries until the Department of Energy can “update the underlying analyses for authorizations.”

“The current economic and environmental analyses DOE uses to underpin its LNG export authorizations are roughly five years old and no longer adequately account for considerations like potential energy cost increases for American consumers and manufacturers beyond current authorizations or the latest assessment of the impact of greenhouse gas emissions,” the administration said. “Today, we have an evolving understanding of the market need for LNG, the long-term supply of LNG, and the perilous impacts of methane on our planet.”

The pause, which is subject to exception for unanticipated and immediate national security emergencies, will “provide the time to integrate these critical considerations,” the administration said.

The pause applies to “pending decisions” and will not impact exports at existing LNG export terminals or the status of LNG terminal projects that have already be approved.

According to information from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, there were eight LNG terminals in operation as of Jan. 30 — one in Alaska, three in Louisiana, one in Maryland, two in Texas and one in Georgia.

An additional seven LNG terminal projects have been approved and are currently under construction. Another 11 LNG terminal projects have been approved by FERC by are not yet under construction.

Her opposition is based on the measure’s “future impact,” Capito said.

“So while some ongoing projects may not be impacted, they will be impacted because of the signals that it sends,” she said.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who chairs the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, has said he plans to hold hearings in the coming weeks focused on “the facts about the true state of play in the markets, this administration’s motivations and their implications.”

Capito, the ranking Republican member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said she plans to be “tuned in” to Manchin’s hearings.

“We’re going to keep pounding the president on this, because honestly, it’s an economic blow of large proportions,” she said. “And also just a geopolitical mistake, in terms of the international security.”