This is the story originally appeared on Mother Jones and is part of Climate table cooperation.
The saga of the planned U.S. Postal Service gas fleet continues.
Sixteen states and two groups of environmental activists – Earthjustice and the National Council for Resource Protection – are suing the USPS to stop buying a fleet of mail trucks that absorb gas. In recent months, Post Chief Louis Dejoy has been criticized for his decision to contract 165,000 new mail trucks, 90 per cent of which will run on gas and earn just 8.6 miles per gallon.
In their lawsuit, environmental groups note that DeJoy did not start the environmental contract until the postal service made an initial payment of $ 483 million to Oshkosh Defense, a manufacturer of new trucks. The Environmental Protection Agency claims that the review itself was erroneous.
“Electrification of the postal fleet would reduce smog and particulate pollution in almost every part of America,” the plaintiffs wrote. “Postal delivery routes are by nature continuous, which means that gas-powered cars stand idle near people’s homes most of the day. This daily pollution affects almost every inhabitant of the country, but the harmful effects of this pollution are most felt by low-income colored communities, which are often forced to breathe sources of pollution.
Sixteen attorneys general have filed a separate lawsuit, arguing that the USPS plan would interfere with their own environmental goals. “The postal service has a historic opportunity to invest in our planet and in our future,” said California Attorney General Rob Bont, who is leading the lawsuit. “Instead, it doubles obsolete technologies that are harmful to our environment and harmful to our communities.”
In March, U.S. spokeswoman Jerry Connolly of Virginia introduced a bill requiring the USPS to take over a new fleet of 75 percent of electric vehicles, but the proposal did not come off the committee.
“Once this purchase is made, we will be stuck with more than 100,000 new cars consuming gas on the surrounding streets that will serve homes in our state and across the country for the next 30 years,” Bonta said. “We are going to the court to make sure that the postal service complies with the law and considers more environmental alternatives before making such a decision.”
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