U.S. utility chief executive officers are voting today on a statement that would express support for federal legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The statement was drafted by the Edison Electric Institute, the Washington trade association for investor-owned utilities, which will collect the votes via conference call. The group's members are the largest U.S. utility owners, including Southern Co., American Electric Power Co. and Exelon Corp.
``EEI supports federal action or legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,'' according to the draft set of principles the utility chiefs will consider, which was obtained by Bloomberg News. The draft also says members ``clearly recognize the growing concerns regarding the threat of climate change.''
Momentum is growing in Congress to tackle global warming with mandatory limits on emissions of carbon dioxide and other so-called greenhouse gases. A United Nations panel last week reported that it is more than 90 percent certain that the Earth is warming because of the carbon released by burning fossil fuels. The Bush administration said that the causes of global warming are ``no longer up for debate.''
``Having EEI decide to participate in this process is a major step forward,'' Representative Rick Boucher, a Virginia Democrat and the chairman of a House subcommittee on air quality, said yesterday in a telephone interview. ``It is very meaningful for industry to have decided that the time has come to work with members of Congress to draft legislation.''