CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., knows he has allies in Washington when it comes to developing the natural gas industry in West Virginia.

The state’s senior senator spoke highly of the work of Energy Secretary Rick Perry during a speech Monday at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center. Manchin’s remarks came less than a week after President Donald Trump signed an executive order requesting a report on economic growth in the Appalachian region.

“Secretary Perry has been extremely helpful and very, very committed to making this happen,” Manchin said. “Secretary Perry comes from Texas, which is an energy producing state, and he understands exactly what we have and what we can offer and what that security gives our nation.”

The executive order, which Trump signed Thursday, requires Perry and other agencies to submit a report on the economic opportunities in Appalachian, including in petrochemical and other industries. The report has to be submitted within six months.

Manchin, who met Perry from serving as governors at the same time, said there needs to be additional security for protecting the nation’s natural gas reserves. This includes protection from natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey in 2017, which affected oil and gas production in south Texas.

Manchin also spoke of legislation — the Rare Earth Element Advanced Coal Technologies Act and the Appalachian Energy for National Security Act — aimed at encouraging research into fossil fuel research and an Appalachian storage hub.