16 states that want to electrify the USPS fleet are suing

FILE - A United States Postal Service employee works outside a post office in Wheeling, Illinois, December 3, 2021. Four environmental groups who want the U.S. Postal Service to buy more electric delivery vehicles are suing legal action to stop further purchases.  The lawsuit, filed Thursday, April 28, 2022, in federal court in California, asks a judge to order the Postal Service to conduct further environmental review before moving forward with the next-generation vehicle program. .  (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

FILE – A United States Postal Service employee works outside a post office in Wheeling, Illinois, December 3, 2021. Four environmental groups who want the U.S. Postal Service to buy more electric delivery vehicles are suing legal action to stop further purchases. The lawsuit, filed Thursday, April 28, 2022, in federal court in California, asks a judge to order the Postal Service to conduct further environmental review before moving forward with the next-generation vehicle program. . (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

PA

California and 15 other states that want the U.S. Postal Service to buy more electric delivery vehicles are suing to halt purchases of thousands of gas-powered trucks as the agency upgrades its mail delivery fleet.

Three separate lawsuits, filed by 16 states and environmental groups Thursday in New York and California, ask judges to order a more thorough environmental review before the Postal Service moves forward with the delivery vehicle program of new generation.

The plaintiffs argue that fossil fuel delivery vehicle purchases will cause environmental damage for decades.

“Louis DeJoy’s gas-guzzling fleet guarantees decades of pollution with every postcard and every package,” said Scott Hochberg, attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, referring to the postmaster general.

A lawsuit has been filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, Earthjustice, CleanAirNow KC and Sierra Club in San Francisco. Attorneys general from 16 states and the District of Columbia filed another complaint at the same location. Another was filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and United Auto Workers in New York.

All three target the environmental review that underpins the Postal Service’s planned purchase of up to 165,000 next-generation delivery vehicles over the next decade.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta said it was essential to stop the process before it was too late.

“Once this purchase is made, we will be stuck with more than 100,000 new gas-guzzling vehicles on neighborhood streets, serving homes across our state and nation, over the next 30 years. There will be no reset button,” he said.

The Postal Service defended its actions.

“The Postal Service has conducted a rigorous and thorough review and has fully complied with all of our obligations under (the National Environmental Policy Act),” spokesman Kim Frum said in an email Thursday.

The Postal Service contract calls for 10% of new vehicles to be electric, but the Postal Service says more electric vehicles can be purchased based on financial outlook and strategic considerations.

The percentage of battery electric vehicles doubled – to 20% – in the initial $2.98 billion order for 50,000 vehicles.

Environmental advocates argue that the Postal Service’s environmental review was inadequate and flawed, and that the contract represented a missed opportunity to electrify the fleet and reduce emissions.

The review process “was so rickety and riddled with errors that it failed to meet basic standards of the National Environmental Policy Act,” said Adrian Martinez, senior counsel for Earthjustice’s Right to Zero campaign. .

The Postal Service is replacing the ubiquitous delivery trucks that entered service between 1987 and 1994.

New gasoline vehicles would get 14.7 miles per gallon (23.7 kilometers per gallon) without air conditioning, compared to 8.4 mpg (13.5 kpg) for older vehicles, the Postal Service said.

In total, the Postal Service fleet includes 190,000 local delivery vehicles. More than 141,000 of them are older models that lack safety features such as airbags, anti-lock brakes and backup cameras.

The new vehicles are taller to make it easier for postmen to grab parcels and parcels that make up a larger share of the volume. They also improved ergonomics and air conditioning.

The states that sued include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

California’s Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the District of Columbia and New York City have also joined this lawsuit.

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Sharp reported from Portland, Maine.

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