Home Democrats search probe of USPS mail truck contract

WASHINGTON — Democrats on the Home Oversight Committee are in search of an investigation right into a U.S. Postal Service plan to exchange its ageing mail vans with largely gasoline-powered autos.

The plan largely ignores White Home calls to replenish the mail-service fleet with electrical autos and has drawn sharp criticism from the Biden administration, Democratic lawmakers and environmentalists, who say it falls far in need of President Joe Biden’s targets to deal with local weather change.

In a letter Monday, Democrats on the oversight panel requested the company’s inspector basic to analyze whether or not the Postal Service complied with the Nationwide Environmental Coverage Act and different legal guidelines when awarding a 10-year contract to Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Protection to provide as much as 165,000 new mail vans.

Solely 10% of the preliminary order will likely be for EVs; the remaining 90% will use conventional gasoline-powered engines.

The Environmental Safety Company, the White Home Council on Environmental High quality and “quite a few environmental stakeholders” have raised issues that the Postal Service didn’t meet its NEPA obligations in issuing the contract, the lawmakers mentioned in a letter to Tammy Whitcomb, the Postal Service inspector basic.

“Given the substantial public curiosity on this acquisition and the numerous deficiencies” within the environmental evaluation recognized by EPA and the White Home, “it’s important that Congress perceive whether or not the Postal Service correctly met its statutory environmental obligations,” the lawmakers wrote.

The letter is signed by 5 Democratic lawmakers, together with Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, the panel’s chair, and Gerry Connolly of Virginia, chairman of a subcommittee on authorities operations.

The lawmakers mentioned they strongly assist buy of electrical autos for the Postal Service fleet, saying it could “considerably reduce emissions and place the Postal Service as an environmental chief” within the U.S.

A spokeswoman mentioned the inspector basic’s workplace obtained the letter Monday and was reviewing it.

The Postal Service awarded Oshkosh Protection a contract price as much as $11 billion over 10 years to exchange its 230,000-vehicle fleet. The corporate has mentioned it’ll make the Subsequent Technology Supply Autos at a reconfigured warehouse in South Carolina, creating 1,000 new jobs.

The Postal Service mentioned final month that it believes it has met all its obligations and is shifting ahead regardless of widespread criticism.

The company “fastidiously reviewed and integrated suggestions” from EPA and the White Home relating to the brand new contract and believes “there is no such thing as a authorized or different foundation to delay the (vehicle-replacement) program,″ mentioned spokeswoman Kim Frum.

The brand new contract will ship 5,000 electrical autos starting in 2023 and “supplies vital environmental advantages by way of the introduction of safer and extra environmentally pleasant autos,” Frum mentioned. Flexibility constructed into the contract permits for extra electrical autos “ought to extra funding turn into accessible,” she added.

Of their letter, lawmakers cited a bunch of issues raised by EPA, together with allegations that the contract was awarded earlier than the environmental evaluation was accomplished, and that the Postal Service omitted vital knowledge on local weather change and different points in finishing the evaluation.

The USPS evaluation “underestimates greenhouse fuel emissions” of the brand new fleet, “fails to contemplate extra environmentally protecting possible alternate options and inadequately considers impacts on communities with environmental justice issues,” the EPA mentioned in a Feb. 2 letter.

The EPA known as the proposal “a vital misplaced alternative to extra quickly scale back the carbon footprint of one of many largest authorities fleets on the earth.” The mail-service fleet includes greater than 230,000 autos, almost one-third of the federal authorities’s general fleet.

The brand new autos are greener than present fashions, which have been in use for 3 many years or extra, however most will likely be powered by gasoline.

An electrified fleet would save about 135 million gallons of gasoline per 12 months, mentioned Adrian Martinez, an lawyer for the environmental group Earthjustice who has urged the Biden administration to power the Postal Service to droop or delay the contract and develop a extra eco-friendly plan.

Postmaster Normal Louis DeJoy, a Republican donor and ally of former President Donald Trump, has mentioned the ten% EV manufacturing is one of the best the Postal Service can do, given its “dire monetary situation.” An extra $3.3 billion could be wanted convert your entire USPS fleet to battery-powered electrics, DeJoy mentioned.

The Postal Service resolution conflicts with Biden’s objective to transform all the federal authorities’s autos to zero-emissions fashions by 2035. The Postal Service is managed by a board of governors and doesn’t take orders from the president. Biden has nominated two folks to serve on the board, however they haven’t been confirmed, leaving the panel underneath management of a Republican chairman, Roman Martinez.

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Patrick Moore

Patrick is our chief editor and he's very passionate about cars. He has a bachelor's degree in marketing and he studies journalism. His favorite brand is BMW and he drives an X5 series. When he's not writing for Vehiclenews.net, he enjoys spending time with his family and 9 years old son.

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