The U.S. Postal Service may soon face its strongest pressure so far to suspend its fleet overhaul contract, with House Democrats scheduling a preliminary vote to ask the postal agency to further evaluate the purchase of electric vehicles. .
Representative Carolyn Maloney, DN.Y., who chairs the House of Representatives’ Oversight and Reform Commission, will present and hold a vote on the Accurate Electrification of the Postal Fleet Act on Wednesday. The measure will cancel the existing environmental impact study conducted by the USPS under its contract with Oshkosh Defense for the purchase of mainly internal combustion engine vehicles and will force it to conduct a new one. Oshkosh will produce up to 165,000 trucks and earn billions of dollars under the contract, although only 10% of the vehicles will be electric, according to the existing post office management commitment.
The USPS has faced criticism from the Biden administration, lawmakers and environmental groups for its impact study, questioning speculation and the timing of its release, once the contract was awarded to Oshkosh. Various organizations filed two lawsuits in separate federal courts last week, alleging that the postal service failed to properly account for EV’s long-term savings, used unreasonably low gas prices in its calculations, and ignored factors such as local air quality and considerations. environmental justice. . The study underestimates the greenhouse gas emissions that would result from vehicles and fails to analyze all the pollutants that come from internal combustion engines, they said.
The Biden administration had previously ordered the postal service to conduct a new environmental review, but management said further consideration of its capabilities and impacts would not provide better information or change the agency’s decisions. The Environmental Protection Agency called the USPS’s environmental analysis “fundamentally wrong” and said the agency had not taken into account all relevant factors. Brenda Mallory, chair of the White House Environmental Quality Council, said the USPS needed to correct these shortcomings before moving forward.
Unlike legislation imposed by other Democratic MPs, Maloney’s bill will not require a certain percentage of new postal vehicles to be electric. The postal administration said it was open to increasing purchases of electric vehicles if Congress provided appropriations for them.
“As we have repeatedly stated, we need to make fiscally sound decisions when it comes to introducing a new fleet,” USPS spokeswoman Kim Froome said last week. “We will continue to look for opportunities to increase the electrification of our supply fleet responsibly, in line with our operational strategy, the deployment of appropriate infrastructure and our financial situation, which we expect to continue to improve as we pursue our plan.”
In a recent interview with Government executiveDeJoy said the USPS will not see all 50,000 vehicles from its initial road order until 2027. While the post office management suggests it may purchase a higher percentage of electric vehicles in the future if there is more funding, DeJoy said. that the next purchase is too far away to make a decision.
Mallory of CEQ will testify before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Wednesday, where she is likely to face questions about the USPS fleet contract. Senator Tom Carper, D-Del., Who chairs the commission, was closely involved in overseeing postal services and led DeJoy to buy more electric cars.
Both the White House and Democrats in Congress have proposed $ 6 billion for the USPS to electrify its fleet, although the funding for that funding, the Better Recovery Act, remains unknown. Biden called on the entire federal government to switch to electric vehicles in the coming decades. Lawmakers said that after the USPS ended 2021 with $ 23 billion and received $ 107 in financial relief through the recently signed Postal Reform Act, the agency could afford to buy a much larger share of electric vehicles, but management the post office insisted that you should use this money for other projects.
A USPS inspector general said in a March report that electric vehicles would be cheaper in the long run for longer supply routes, especially in areas with particularly high gas prices.