SAN FRANCISCO - California utility company PG&E Corp said it is quitting the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in protest over the business lobby group's extreme position on climate change.

The Chamber has pushed for public hearings to challenge the scientific evidence for man-made climate change, a move PG&E Chief Executive Peter Darbee singled out as part of the group's dismaying approach to the issue in a recent letter to the Chamber.

An intellectually honest argument over the best policy response to the challenges of climate change is one thing; disingenuous attempts to diminish or distort the reality of these challenges is quite another, Darbee wrote, according to PG&E's Next 100 blog,, on Tuesday.

San Francisco-based PG&E, which provides power to about 15 million people in northern and central parts of California, has been a U.S. Chamber of Commerce member for three years.

The blog said another U.S. utility, Duke Energy Corp, and French power plant parts maker Alstom Power had both recently left the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, citing that group's opposition to U.S. climate change legislation.

(Reporting by Braden Reddall, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)