Washington and 15 other states sued the US Postal Service on Thursday, alleging it broke federal law by choosing new gasoline-powered trucks over an electric fleet.
The law, filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, asserts that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when the Postal Service decided in February, during a “poor overhaul process,” replacing nearly 165,000 mail trucks. primarily with vehicles powered by gasoline, not electricity, in its national fleet of 212,000.
The lawsuit claimed that, in choosing a vehicle manufacturer, USPS failed to consider alternative options, weigh the impacts of poor air quality on polluted communities, align its purchase with state climate policies, or publish an environmental review prior to its decision to sign. a contract worth $6. billion in the next 10 years.
NEPA “requires the government to look before it leaps by considering reasonable alternatives and allowing the voices of the people to inform decisions,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a press release. “Postmaster DeJoy illegally jumped into gasoline-powered vehicles without sufficiently considering the alternatives. Postmaster DeJoy failed in his responsibility to protect our shared environment.”
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed Thursday include 16 states, two cities (the District of Columbia and New York City) and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
Two other lawsuits were filed Thursday in New York and California by several environmental groups, who asked the judges to order a more thorough review of the postal service’s decision.
Oshkosh Defense LLC, a Wisconsin-based manufacturer, was selected by DeJoy in 2021 to build a new fleet for the USPS. Oshkosh Defense does not currently manufacture electric vehicles but, according to the company’s website, “will manufacture both zero-emission battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and low-emission, fuel-efficient internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, enhancing the USPS fleet to make it increasingly sustainable. Production of the next-generation delivery vehicle is expected to begin in 2023.”
Washington is pushing to electrify its transportation system in its efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions 45% below 1990 levels by the end of the decade and eliminate them entirely by 2050.
In March, DeJoy’s decision was not only denounced by the Environmental Protection Agency and the White House Council on Environmental Quality, but led House Democrats to request an investigation and send a letter to the inspector. USPS General Tammy Whitcomb.
The USPS estimated that newly built vehicles would get nearly 30 miles per gallon, but an EPA analysis found the figure to be closer to 15 mpg, or 8.6 mpg if the driver uses air conditioning.