Senate Dems to EPA: You're doing great

Senate Democrats met with Environmental Protection Agency head Gina McCarthy Tuesday to commend her work rolling out the proposed carbon emissions limits for power plants.

The senators agreed that the EPA’s efforts since June 2 have worked well and gone smoothly, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said.

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“I’d suggest she got a good report back from us about the way it’s being rolled out in our states from east to west and north to south,” Whitehouse said Wednesday.

McCarthy told 15 or so lawmakers gathered that she felt the rollout had been successful as well. “She gave a good report,” Whitehouse said.

EPA spokeswoman Alisha Johnson confirmed that the meeting took place with the Senate Climate Action Task Force, a group of 24 liberal senators who fight for climate change policy.

The Obama administration has worked aggressively over the past month to promote the rule, which would reduce carbon emissions from plants by 30 percent by 2030 through plans written by individual states. Officials have reached out across the country to a wide variety of stakeholders and decision makers in an effort to shore up support for the controversial rule.

Tuesday’s meeting was not the first one administration officials have held with lawmakers on the regulations. White House Adviser John Podesta met with Senate Democrats the day after the rule was unveiled.

Nonetheless, it was quickly attacked on Capitol Hill, with bills aimed at stopping the EPA’s work on the regulations or defunding them. A funding bill to block the regulations passed a House subcommittee Wednesday.

Asked about the legislative threats to the rule, Whitehouse said the Tuesday meeting was not focused on those.

“My take was that it was more about touching base on how the rollout had gone and that there was very, very positive response from everybody that the rollout had gone very well,” Whitehouse said. “Better than everybody had expected.”