He continued: "We can supplant Russia's influence but we won't so long as we have to contend with the Energy Department's achingly slow approval process. As we speak, the administration is sitting on 24 applications for natural gas exports. It's approved just six in the last three years. This amounts to a de facto ban that only emboldens Vladimir Putin, allowing him to sell large quantities of natural gas to our allies."
AP Photo / Charles Dharapak