Biden administration attacks Postal Service’s truck plans
By Bill McAllister, Washington Correspondent
The Biden administration has attacked Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s plans to buy mostly gas-powered trucks to replace the United States Postal Service’s aging fleet of mail delivery vehicles.
Both the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency wrote to the USPS Feb. 2, stating that the agency’s internal review of its truck proposal is seriously flawed and should be revised.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the House of Representative’s Committee on Oversight and Reform that oversees the USPS, has also voiced alarm that the agency is moving ahead with plans for a mostly gas-powered fleet instead of the all-electric fleet that House Democrats favor.
It was unclear whether the Biden administration’s concerns will delay the agency’s plans after the Washington Post reported Feb. 2 that the administration had “grave concerns with the adequacy” of the Postal Service’s internal review of the project. The Post noted that the agency had rejected a California request that it hold a public hearing on the issue.
Postal Service spokeswoman Kimberly Frum defended the agency’s actions but said its continuing financial woes have forced it to consider the higher costs of moving to an electric fleet.
“The Postal Service is certainly willing to accelerate the pace of electrification of our delivery fleet if a solution can be found to do so that is not financially detrimental to the Postal Service,” she said.
Rep. Maloney voiced strong support for the White House plan, urging the USPS “to go back to the drawing board” with its environmental impact study.
“It is critical that the Postal Service purchase electric vehicles rather than basing its future postal fleet on the fossil fuel technology of the past,” Maloney said in a statement.
The two Biden administration officials from the Council on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency who wrote to the USPS said the internal study understates the environmental harm from a gas-powered fleet.
One of the letters contained a hint of possible legal action to block DeJoy’s truck plan.
In a rare Sunday news release on Feb. 6, the Postal Service sought to assure the public that it wants to purchase some electric vehicles.
“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,” the USPS quoted DeJoy as saying.
He said the agency’s plans call for an initial order for 5,000 electric trucks and suggested the number could increase if Congress provides additional funding to the USPS.
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