A New Gas-Guzzling Postal Fleet Could Be Halted by Lawsuits

This story originally appeared At Sea Jones and is part of the Climate Table collaboration.

The U.S. Postal Service’s planned fleet of gas fleets continues.

Sixteen states and two groups of environmental activists — Earthjustice and the National Resources Defense Council — are suing the USPS for stopping the purchase of a fleet of gas-powered mail trucks. Postmaster general Louis DeJoy has been criticized in recent months for his decision to move forward with a contract for 165,000 new postal trucks, 90 percent of which would run on gas and reach just 8.6 miles per gallon.

In their lawsuit, environmental groups say DeJoy did not begin an environmental review of the contract until the postal service had already issued a $ 483 million down payment to Oshkosh Defense, the maker of the new trucks. The Environmental Protection Agency has stated that the review itself was defective.

“Electrification of the postal service fleet would reduce smog and particulate pollution in almost every neighborhood in the United States,” the plaintiffs write. “Postal delivery routes are by nature, which means that petrol delivery vehicles are idle outside people’s homes for much of the day. This daily pollution affects almost every resident of the country, but the effects harmful effects of this pollution are felt more significantly by low-income colored communities, which are often forced to breathe in sources of compound pollution. “

Sixteen state attorneys general filed a separate lawsuit arguing that the USPS plan would hamper its own environmental goals. “The postal service has a historic opportunity to invest in our planet and our future,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta, who is leading state demand. “Instead, it is duplicating outdated technologies that are bad for our environment and our communities.”

In March, U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia introduced a bill that would require the USPS to commit to a new 75 percent electric vehicle fleet, but the proposal has not come out of committee.

“Once this purchase is made, we will be left with more than 100,000 new vehicles that use gasoline on the streets of the neighborhood, which serve homes in our state and across the country, for the next 30 years,” Bonta said. “We are going to court to make sure the postal service complies with the law and considers more environmentally friendly alternatives before making that decision.”

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