Energy & Environment

Postal Service finalizes order for majority gasoline-powered trucks over White House objections

Associated Press/Nati Harnik, file

The U.S. Postal Service on Wednesday announced its finalized plans to order a new fleet of majority gasoline-powered vehicles, despite pushback from congressional Democrats that this would contravene the Biden administration’s emissions goals.

In a statement Wednesday, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said the Postal Service had finished its required evaluation of environmental impacts under the National Environmental Protection Act. DeJoy reiterated his argument that the agency lacked the financial resources to transition to a fully electric fleet.

DeJoy, who awarded the vehicle contract to Oshkosh in February 2021, has only committed to 10 percent of the new vehicles being electrified, despite an executive order from President Biden calling on the federal government to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. The Postal Service has the single largest civilian fleet in the nation.

“As our financial position improves with the ongoing implementation of our 10-year plan, Delivering for America, we will continue to pursue the acquisition of additional BEV [battery electric vehicles] as additional funding — from either internal or congressional sources — becomes available,” DeJoy said. “But the process needs to keep moving forward. The men and women of the U.S. Postal Service have waited long enough for safer, cleaner vehicles to fulfill on our universal service obligation to deliver to 161 million addresses in all climates and topographies six days per-week.”

The move had been vehemently opposed by congressional Democrats and the Biden administration’s Council on Environmental Quality, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, which sent a letter asking for clarification earlier in the month. Environmental groups were also strongly opposed.

“Neither rain, nor sleet, nor financial good sense will stop the leaders of the U.S. Postal Service from trying to buy dirty, polluting delivery trucks,” Patricio Portillo, transportation analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement. “For the sake of clean air and cost savings, it’s time to return this plan to sender. Congress and the White House should also step in and ensure that Trump-holdover Louis DeJoy and the current board of the post office don’t lock in decades of use of dirty vehicles under the gloom of night.”

Tags Joe Biden Louis DeJoy

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