By Jared Acosta
Attorneys general from 16 states and at least three major metropolitan areas, including New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, filed multiple lawsuits against the United States Postal Service (USPS) on Thursday.
The coalition of attorneys general is calling USPS's plan to purchase up to 165,000 Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDV) over the next decade an environmental risk as only 10% of the new fleet will be electrified. They request a halt to the deal until a more thorough review can be conducted. Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), all federal agencies are required to assess the environmental effects of the proposed actions prior to making decisions.
Currently, the USPS's fleet is primarily comprised of Grumman Long Life Vehicles (LLVs). According to Wikipedia, the vehicle is based on the original Chevy S-10 Blazer. The LLV was produced between 1987 and 1994, with the majority built between 1987 and 1988. The expected lifespan of the LLV was initially 20 years, although that was extended to 30 years in 2009. Most have been in use for at least 27 years. The vehicle is a fuel rating of 16 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway. However, according to Wikipedia, USPS delivery drivers average closer to 10 mpg with their continued stop and go.
According to the USPS website, "The U.S. Postal Service said it remains committed to working with all its stakeholders – including Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – as it pursues the fiscally responsible implementation of its Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) program, which is designed to introduce safer and more environmentally friendly vehicles and works towards the electrification of its delivery fleet as quickly as resources and infrastructure will allow."
"Our commitment to an electric fleet remains ambitious given the pressing vehicle and safety needs of our aging fleet as well as our dire financial condition," said Postmaster General and USPS Chief Executive Officer Louis DeJoy. "The proposed action, which we are evaluating under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), includes an initial order plan for 5,000 electric vehicles, and the flexibility to increase the number of electric vehicles introduced should additional funding become available. Absent such funding, we must make fiscally responsible decisions that result in the needed introduction of safer and environmentally cleaner vehicles for the men and women who deliver America's mail."
According to USPS spokesperson Kim Frum, "The Postal Service conducted a robust and thorough review and fully complied with all of our obligations under (the National Environmental Policy Act)." The USPS website states, the NGDV's fuel economy without air conditioning running is 14.7 MPG, compared with the LLV's fuel economy of 8.4 MPG (which does not have air conditioning).
California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington are the 16 states that have joined this lawsuit.
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