updated 2/7/2007 5:13:39 PM ET 2007-02-07T22:13:39

An electricity industry trade group called Wednesday for national regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, arguing that a single nationwide policy would be better than rules that vary by state.

The Electric Power Supply Association said its members united behind a position paper calling for legislation regulating emissions of greenhouse gases, which most scientists believe is causing the earth's atmosphere to warm.

The group, which represents big electricity generators such as NRG Energy Inc., AES Corp., Exelon Corp., Mirant Corp., Constellation Energy Group Inc. and Reliant Energy Inc., did not endorse any specific legislation.

John Shelk, the trade group's president, said the action came from a recognition that momentum is building toward a national climate change policy. As companies contemplate what kind of power plants they build, and whether they will use natural gas, coal or nuclear fuel, a national policy makes more sense than statewide regulations, he said.

"We need to know what the rules are going to be, because these investments are going to last 20, 30, 40 years," said Shelk, whose association represents companies that sell power in deregulated electricity markets around the country.

California has enacted new greenhouse gas regulations, and several Northeastern states have committed to a multistate plan to curb carbon dioxide emissions from power plants 10 percent by 2019. Shelk said any federal legislation should override state-level rules.

Other business groups are backing federal action on climate change. Last month, chief executives of 10 major corporations urged Congress to require limits on greenhouse gases this year, contending voluntary efforts to combat climate change are inadequate. Those companies included utility firms Duke Energy Corp., PG&E Corp., FPL Group Inc., and PNM Resources Inc.

But the industry as a whole has traditionally opposed mandatory greenhouse emissions.

"It is no secret that there is a diversity of viewpoints within our association about some of these issues" said Jim Owen, spokesman for the Edison Electric Institute, the biggest trade group for utilities. He said the association has not yet taken a position on climate change legislation currently before Congress. Members of his group, he said, support the development of technologies to generate electricity in a way that produces less of an impact on the world's climate.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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