Most scientists and scientific organizations around the world say global temperatures are increasing, that human activities -- primarily burning fossil fuels -- are to blame, and that reductions in greenhouse emissions are urgently needed to avoid dangerous impacts.
Manchin did not mention climate change or global warming at Tuesday's event. He did stress the wide variety of energy resources in West Virginia, including natural gas, wind, biomass and solar energy.
"From the moment I arrived in the U.S. Senate, I have believed and fought for the balance between the economy, environment and jobs," he said.
Manchin fears some coal-fired power plants that have not installed state-of-the-art technology could be forced to close.
"The EPA is creating unreasonable timelines that will force AEP and other utilities to shut down far too many power plants that are needed in the system," he said.
By April 2015, AEP alone will have to retrofit more than 25 percent of its capacity to continue generating electricity.
AEP alone could be forced to layoff 750 employees from plants in West Virginia and other states, Manchin said. AEP had already planned to close some of its older and less-efficient coal-fired plants.
Still, Manchin said, "coal will play a major role in our country's energy portfolio for decades to come. By its own estimates, [the Obama] administration says that coal will make up 39 percent of our energy generation in 2035."
Manchin criticized $2.7 billion in federal expenditures on renewable energy, which he said will generate only 16 percent of the United States' electricity in 2035, while cutting $93 million in federal funds for coal research.
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.