Science & Tech

USPS sued by states and environmental groups over purchase of 8.6 mpg trucks

A Postal Service delivery vehicle.
Enlarge / The USPS’s new mail truck.

United States Postal Service

The US Postal Service is dealing with lawsuits from 16 states and several other environmental teams difficult its determination to purchase tens of hundreds of gasoline-powered supply autos as a substitute of electrical autos.

As beforehand reported, the Environmental Protection Agency says the gas-powered vehicles being ordered by the USPS “are expected to achieve only 8.6 miles per gallon (mpg), barely improving over the decades-old long-life vehicles that achieve 8.2 mpg.” The USPS countered that the autos get 14.7 mpg when air-con is not getting used and that the vehicles’ measurement will make it potential to ship the identical quantity of mail in fewer journeys.

The USPS plan is to purchase 50,000 to 165,000 autos over 10 years. Of these, no less than 10 p.c are slated to be battery-electric autos (BEV). Amid controversy, the USPS final month mentioned its preliminary order of fifty,000 vehicles for $2.98 billion would come with over 10,000 BEVs for “specific delivery routes that present the best initial application for electric vehicles.”

A lawsuit filed by California and 15 different states on Thursday mentioned the USPS failed “to follow a process mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA),” persevering with:

Instead, the Postal Service first selected a producer with minimal expertise in producing electrical autos, signed a contract, and made a considerable down cost for brand spanking new autos. Only then did the Postal Service publish a cursory environmental overview to justify the choice to switch 90 p.c of its supply fleet with fossil-fuel-powered, inner combustion engine autos, regardless of different accessible, environmentally preferable options. In doing so, the Postal Service didn’t adjust to even essentially the most fundamental necessities of NEPA.

States search injunction

The lawsuit seeks an injunction forcing the USPS to cease the automobile purchases “until it has complied with NEPA.” It was filed towards the USPS and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who was appointed by the USPS Board of Governors in 2020 underneath then-President Donald Trump.

All 16 states concerned within the lawsuit have Democratic attorneys basic. They allege that the USPS “violated well-established legal precedent prohibiting ‘an irreversible and irretrievable commitment of resources’ before completing the NEPA process by signing contracts with a defense company (Oshkosh Defense, LLC) to procure vehicles six months before even releasing its draft environmental review and a year prior to issuing the Final Environmental Impact Statement (‘Final EIS’) and Record of Decision.”

The states additionally declare the USPS failed to think about and consider cheap options. “Specifically, the Postal Service did not properly evaluate several environmental impacts of its action, including air quality, environmental justice, and climate harms, by simply assuming that any upgrade to its vehicle fleet would have positive impacts on the environment,” the criticism mentioned.

States additionally alleged the USPS “failed to ensure the scientific integrity of its analysis by relying on unfounded assumptions regarding the costs and performance of electric vehicles, infrastructure, and gas prices, and refusing to identify the source of the data relied upon in the Final EIS.”

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