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States sue USPS over its decision to buy gas-powered trucks : NPR

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A U.S. Postal Service worker works outdoors a submit workplace in Wheeling, Ailing., on Dec. 3, 2021.

Nam Y. Huh/AP


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Nam Y. Huh/AP

California and 15 states that need the U.S. Postal Service to affect its mail supply automobiles are suing to halt purchases of hundreds of gas-powered trucks because the company modernizes its supply fleet.

Three separate lawsuits, filed Thursday by the states and environmental teams in New York and California, ask judges to order a extra thorough environmental overview earlier than the Postal Service strikes ahead with the next-generation supply automobile program.

Plaintiffs contend that purchases of fossil fuel-powered supply automobiles will trigger environmental hurt for many years to return. The lawsuits may additional delay the Postal Service’s efforts to switch the ever-present supply vehicles that went into service between 1987 and 1994.

“Louis DeJoy’s gas-guzzling fleet ensures many years of air pollution with each postcard and package deal,” mentioned Scott Hochberg, an lawyer with the Heart for Organic Variety, referring to the postmaster common.

Attorneys common from 16 states — 14 of which have Democratic governors — sued in San Francisco. A separate lawsuit by the Heart for Organic Variety, Earthjustice, CleanAirNow KC and Sierra Membership was filed in the identical venue. One other was filed by the Pure Assets Protection Council and United Auto Employees in New York.

Advocates say the environmental overview behind the deliberate buy was flawed

All three of them goal the environmental overview underpinning the Postal Service’s deliberate buy of as much as 165,000 next-generation supply automobiles over the subsequent decade.

California Lawyer Normal Rob Bonta mentioned it is key to cease the method earlier than it is too late.

“As soon as this buy goes by means of, we’ll be caught with greater than 100,000 new gas-guzzling automobiles on neighborhood streets, serving properties throughout our state and throughout the nation, for the subsequent 30 years. There will not be a reset button,” he mentioned.

The Postal Service says it performed an intensive overview

The Postal Service defended the method it adopted below DeJoy, a rich former logistics govt and Republican donor who was appointed by a board of governors managed by then-President Donald Trump.

“The Postal Service performed a sturdy and thorough overview and totally complied with all of our obligations below (the Nationwide Environmental Coverage Act),” spokesperson Kim Frum mentioned Thursday in an e mail.

The Postal Service contract requires 10% of the brand new automobiles to be electrical however the Postal Service contends extra electrical automobiles could be bought based mostly on monetary outlook and strategic concerns.

The share of battery-electric automobiles was doubled — to twenty% — within the preliminary $2.98 billion order for 50,000 automobiles.

Environmental advocates contend the Postal Service’s environmental overview was insufficient and flawed, and that the contract represented a missed alternative to affect the fleet and cut back emissions.

The overview course of “was so rickety and riddled with error that it failed to fulfill the essential requirements of the Nationwide Environmental Coverage Act,” mentioned Adrian Martinez, senior lawyer on Earthjustice’s Proper to Zero marketing campaign.

New York Lawyer Normal Letitia James mentioned the Postal Service used “fatally flawed decision-making” that led to an consequence that was “fiscally and environmentally irresponsible.” New York is among the many plaintiffs.

If the events cannot agree on a settlement, the lawsuit may drag on for months, presumably into subsequent 12 months, if there are appeals, mentioned College of Richmond Faculty of Regulation professor Carl Tobias.

The brand new automobiles would get practically double the fuel mileage of the older ones

The brand new gasoline-powered automobiles would get 14.7 miles per gallon (23.7 kilometers per gallon) with out air con, in comparison with 8.4 mpg (13.5 kpg) for the older automobiles, the Postal Service mentioned.

All informed, the Postal Service’s fleet consists of 190,000 native supply automobiles. Greater than 141,000 of these are the previous fashions that lack security options like air luggage, anti-lock brakes and backup cameras.

The brand new automobiles are taller to make it simpler for postal carriers to seize packages and parcels that make up a larger share of quantity. Additionally they have improved ergonomics and local weather management.

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

The Bay Space Air High quality Administration District in California, District of Columbia and metropolis of New York joined that lawsuit, as effectively.

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