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Environmental groups sue USPS for gas-powered trucks

Environmental groups sue USPS for gas-powered trucks

On Thursday, a coalition representing environmental groups filed a lawsuit against U.S. Postal Service (USPS), for its decision to replace the majority of its fleets with fossil fuel-powered vehicles.

Environmental groups and climate hawks in Congress have condemned Postmaster General Louis DeJoys decision not to purchase new gas-powered vehicles that get 8.6 miles per gallon.

USPS has committed to making only 10% of the 165,000 vehicles electric. In December, President Biden signed an executive order establishing a goal of carbon neutrality across the federal government. This would be very difficult if the Postal Service, the largest federal fleet, does not switch to renewable energy.

Because they travel short distances and return to a central location over night, postal vehicles have been deemed ideal for electrification by electric vehicle advocates. 

Plaintiffs accuse DeJoy, in a lawsuit, of using seriously flawed techniques for the environmental analysis that led the order.

The lawsuit claims that USPS inflated the costs of batteries to justify a lack of electrification, and underestimated gas prices. The analysis was done before recent increases in gas prices. It was based upon a projected gas price at $2.19 per gallon.

The lawsuit claims that USPS underestimated the mileage per electric vehicle, projecting 70 miles per charged, despite the fact that current vehicles can get up to 200 miles per charge.

The Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, EarthJustice and EarthJustice are the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. 

Adrian Martinez, a senior attorney for Earthjustices Right To Zero campaign, stated in a statement that DeJoys environment process was so slow and riddled of error that it failed meet the basic standards set forth by the National Environmental Policy Act. We will go to court to defend the millions of Americans who live in neighborhoods contaminated by tailpipe pollution. This country should have electric mail delivery for our health and future. 

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The USPS order was also criticized and scrutinized by congressional Democrats and the Environmental Protection Agency. Eight Democratic lawmakers from the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition wrote to DeJoy in February urging him to reverse the move. They said it was contrary to the United States’ commitments to climate change. In a letter to DeJoy, the EPA called this plan a crucial missed opportunity. 

DeJoy defended this move as a result of the EPAs dire financial position. Rep. Jared Huffman (D.Calif.), dismissed this as hostage-taking in a February interview with The Hill.

The Hill reached out to the USPS for comment. 

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