Rep. Adam Smith, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, on Tuesday criticized a Trump administration proposal to use West Coast military sites to export coal and natural gas, saying doing so would harm national security.

“This is a clear attempt to circumvent environmental oversight and protections,” Smith said. “The Trump administration is once again using national security as an excuse to drive their short-sighted agenda. Turning our military bases into export terminals could be an encroachment risk and potentially harm military training, operations, and readiness.”

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Monday that the Trump administration is considering using military installations along the coasts to export coal and natural gas.

Zinke, in an interview with the Associated Press, claimed the export proposal is a national security priority – a common refrain as the Trump administration tries to burnish fossil fuels.

He only named one potential military installation as a potential export site, a former Navy base in Alaska.

He said opposition from Democratic-controlled coastal states, such as Washington, to export projects is preventing the U.S. from exporting affordable energy to allies in Asia. Last year, Washington state environmental regulators killed the proposed Millennium Bulk coal terminal, which would have been the largest such facility in the country.

“I respect the state of Washington and Oregon and California,” Zinke said. “But also, it’s in our interest for national security and our allies to make sure that they have access to affordable energy commodities.”

Democrats and environmentalists say the proposal would circumvent the authority of West Coast state leaders who have rejected private sector efforts to build coal export facilities.

Smith said climate change is the real national security facing the country, and military bases. Military bases are exposed to sea level rise caused by climate change, and Congress has directed the Pentagon to study and prepare for that risk, which it officially called a "national security threat" in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act that President Trump signed.