Through snow and rain and gloom of night, hundreds of thousands of UnsafeOur great nation is dotted with 30-year-old, gas-guzzling mail truck drivers.
The postal fleet needs to be upgraded. But thanks to Postmaster General and major Trump donor Louis DeJoy, you shouldn’t expect an electric mail truck to come whirring down your street anytime soon.
President Biden has called for federal agencies to phase out the use of gas-powered vehicles, but the USPS, an independent agency, isn’t obligated to follow Biden’s guidelines. So DeJoy—who Oversaw the removal671 mail sorting stations were in operation before the 2020 election. Mail service is being slowed; and employees were reportedly reimbursed Donations to GOP campaigns—oversaw an $11.3 billion contractOshkosh Defense has 165,000 trucks for the agency. Ninety percent of these would be gas-powered.
The Environmental Protection Agency issued this statement. furious letter about the decision, calling the Postal Service’s consideration of climate concerns “seriously deficient” and accusing USPS of awarding $482 million to Oshkosh Defense BeforeIn violation of the Environmental Review Act, initiating an environment review Council on Environmental Quality regulations.
There was eventually an environmental review. This was a serious oversight. As the Washington PostThis was reported last week
Its public comments are here The EPA questioned why, in its economic and climate studies, the Postal Service assumed that gasoline and battery prices would remain unchanged for decades to come and overestimated greenhouse gas emissions caused by electricity driving plug-in cars.
DeJoy agreed to the fleet, which would be more fuel efficient than the ones. Seinfeld’s Newman drove in the ’90s—to the tune of 0.4 miles more per gallon. This is a pathetic attempt at reducing gas consumption: Current trucks average 8.2 mpg according to the EPA. The new trucks would achieve 8.6 mpg.
The USPS is in over $200 billion of debt and blames its inability to electrify its fleet on its money woes. “While we can understand why some who are not responsible for the financial sustainability of the Postal Service might prefer that the Postal Service acquire more electric vehicles, the law requires the Postal Service to be self-sufficient,” USPS spokesperson Kimberly Frum said in a statement. The House plans to vote on legislation relieving some of the USPS’s debt in the coming days.
But in buying gas-powered trucks over electric ones, the USPS is mirroring the entire world’s approach to the climate over the past 50 years: solving short-term issues at the expense of long-term economic and environmental improvements. According to the EPA, climate damage would be caused by the new gas-guzzling fleet mail trucks. It is estimated that it will cause $900 million in climate damage. And, despite the USPS’s argument that electrifying the fleet would cost too much money, doing so could save the agency $4.3 billion in the long term, according to one Independent analysis.
The inanity of the USPS’s decision-making process isn’t lost on House Democrats. Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.), who leads the House subcommittee overseeing the USPS, has called DeJoy’s decision “antediluvian” and urged the postmaster general to resign. The EPA hasn’t brought the dispute to the White House council that mediates interagency conflicts related to climate, but it has issued the USPS a strongly worded letter. Environmental groups are already planning to sue.
It’s unclear whether DeJoy will heed the EPA’s request to halt the purchase of a new fleet of trucks. Officials at the EPA believe that the USPS could still pivot to an electric fleet in the future, even if the current mostly-gas contract is continued for 2023.