State leaders including New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) and California Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) have sued the U.S. Postal Service and current Postmaster General Louis DeJoy over the agency’s plans to replace most of 165,000 delivery vehicles with gas-powered vehicles — a plan that the Postal Service, as led by DeJoy, launched without having first finalized the federally required review of the environmental impacts of the possibilities. An environmental review eventually emerged, but the analysis featured apparently serious faults. As summarized in a press release from James’s office, those behind this new legal action are hoping to obtain a court order stopping the Postal Service “from moving ahead with the purchase” until the agency fulfills the federal legal requirements regarding environmental reviews that it’s apparently flouted. As James put it:
‘Louis DeJoy’s choice to ignore the law and buy an almost entirely gas-fueled fleet of 165,000 vehicles is fiscally and environmentally irresponsible… This decision will have lasting and devastating consequences for our environment, and the health and wellbeing of New Yorkers. I stand with my colleagues across the country in opposing USPS’s fatally flawed decision-making, and we will fight to ensure our laws are followed and our communities are protected.’
I’ll keep fighting to get rid of Louis DeJoy’s dangerously shortsighted mail delivery fleet plan—and to kick him out of USPS once and for all! #ElectrifyUSPS
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) April 29, 2022
Certain communities like those consisting of low-income folks and people of color are especially vulnerable to environmental pollutants such as those that stand to be emitted by the numerous gas-powered vehicles that the Postal Service moved to put into service, as James’s office also noted. At this point, the Postal Service under DeJoy’s leadership has already made a sizable down payment for the new, mostly gas-powered delivery vehicles. James’s office singled out the possibility of including more electric vehicles in the Postal Service’s fleet — a possibility that the agency evidently failed to substantially consider, no matter the potentially critical environmental difference in certain areas between relying on gas and relying on electric vehicles for deliveries. James’s office says that the environmental review that eventually emerged covering the procurement of new vehicles “failed to properly consider air quality, environmental justice, and climate impacts of purchasing a primarily gas powered fleet” and “failed to ensure the scientific integrity of its analysis by relying on unfounded assumptions and failing to provide the source of the data it considered,” among some additional foundational issues.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy had the opportunity to buy a new fleet of electric @USPS trucks.
Instead, he’s choosing to buy up to 165,000 gas-guzzling trucks that will hurt our planet.
I'm suing to protect our communities and block the @USPS from purchasing these vehicles.
— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) April 28, 2022
DeJoy has previously faced calls for his departure from his current position over the replacement of so many service vehicles with gas-powered members of the fleet. Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) pushed for DeJoy’s exit in response to this issue — although unfortunately, his job is the responsibility of the board of governors overseeing the Postal Service rather than the president or Congress. On Twitter, Connolly said: “Louis DeJoy plans to spend billions on gas-powered vehicles despite clear goals set by [President Joe Biden] and Congress to electrify the federal fleet. I want a full examination of this contract, and I am pursuing a legislative remedy. But DeJoy has to go right now.”
Louis DeJoy plans to spend billions on gas-powered vehicles despite clear goals set by @POTUS and Congress to electrify the federal fleet.
I want a full examination of this contract, and I am pursuing a legislative remedy. But DeJoy has to go right now.https://t.co/86QgDucqwZ pic.twitter.com/1KgknfLdyz
— Rep. Gerry Connolly (@GerryConnolly) February 3, 2022