Sixteen states sue the Postal Service over gas car purchase plan

Sixteen States on Thursday sued the US Postal Service over its plan to replace its aging delivery fleet with thousands of gas-powered vehicles over the next decade, arguing that the agency has not properly considered the environmental damage the vehicles cause. They were joined by the District of Columbia, the City of New York, and the Bay Area organization. Environmental and labor groups filed separate lawsuits.

The lawsuits allege that the agency’s environmental analysis to justify spending up to $11.3 billion on gas trucks that only get 8.6 mpg was deeply flawed.

The Postal Service has about 230,000 vehicles, about a third of the country’s entire federal fleet. His plan to buy gas trucks will nullify President Joe Biden’s promise to replace the federal fleet of 600,000 cars and trucks with electric power and cut carbon emissions by 65% ​​by 2030. The administration has pledged to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by almost half. by the end of the decade and move the economy to zero emissions by 2050.

United States Postal Service (USPS) workers load mail onto delivery trucks outside a post office in Royal Oak, Michigan, August 22, 2020.

Rebecca Cook | Reuters

In February, the EPA and the White House Environmental Quality Council called on the agency to conduct an updated and more detailed technical review and hold public hearings on its plan.

However, later that month, the Postal Service met a final regulatory requirement that would allow it to receive the first of the new vehicles next year. The agency’s plan is converting only 10% of its new trucks to electric power, far below the promises of Amazon and UPS, which have large fleets.

The lawsuit alleges that the plan violated the National Environmental Policy Act and should be dismissed. The lawsuit alleges that the Postal Service’s gas-powered vehicles will prevent states from fulfilling their own commitments to combat climate change.

“The Postal Service has a historic opportunity to invest in our planet and our future,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta. said in a statement. “Instead, it’s doubling down on outdated technologies that are bad for our environment and bad for our communities.”

“After this purchase goes through, we will be stuck with more than 100,000 new gasoline-powered vehicles on neighborhood streets serving homes in our state and across the country for the next 30 years,” Bonta said. “There will be no reset button.”

Despite the growth in sales of electric vehicles in recent years, the transport sector is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the country, accounting for about one-third of the total annual volume.

Postal spokesman Kim Froome stated that the agency “did a thorough and thorough review and has fully complied with all of our NEPA commitments.”

“We must make financially sound decisions regarding the necessary implementation of the new fleet,” Frum wrote in an email. “We will continue to seek opportunities to increase the electrification of our delivery fleet in a responsible manner, in line with our operational strategy, the deployment of related infrastructure, and our financial position, which we expect will continue to improve as our plan progresses. .”

Joining the California lawsuit are the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the county. Columbia, and New York City and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

Two separate lawsuits were filed by environmental groups CleanAirNow, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Sierra Club under the legal representation of Earthjustice; and the Natural Resources Defense Council with United Auto Workers.

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