- The US Postal Service plans to spend billions on gas-powered trucks despite Biden’s clean energy plans.
- In letters sent Wednesday, EPA and White House officials urged the independent agency to reconsider the decision.
- The Postal Service has said it cannot afford to buy more electric vehicles.
Officials in the Biden administration on Wednesday urged the US Postal Service not to go through with a plan to spend billions of dollars on gas-powered trucks, expressing concerns over pollution and the climate crisis.
The Postal Service plan includes spending $11.3 billion on as many as 165,000 trucks over the next decade, despite the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warning against the environmental impact of the decision, The Washington Post reported. In letters sent on Wednesday, the EPA and the White House Council on Environmental Quality urged the independent agency to ditch its plan and conduct a new environmental analysis.
The EPA letter, which was obtained by The Associated Press, said the Postal Service’s plan, which calls for just 10% of the new fleet to be electric, “underestimates greenhouse gas emissions, fails to consider more environmentally protective feasible alternatives and inadequately considers impacts on communities with environmental justice concerns.”
The letter also noted the plan has “virtually no fuel efficiency gains for the other 90%” of new trucks and is inconsistent with President Joe Biden’s agenda to “move with deliberate speed toward clean, zero-emitting vehicles.”
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, an ally of former President Donald Trump, signed off on the plan and has said the Postal Service, an independent federal agency, cannot afford to buy more electric vehicles, The Post reported.
In a statement to the AP, a spokesperson for the Postal Service said: “While we can understand why some who are not responsible for the financial sustainability of the Postal Service might prefer that we acquire more electric vehicles, the law requires us to be self-sufficient.”
“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,″ spokeswoman Kim Frum added.
Rep. Gerald Connolly, a Democrat from Virginia, called for DeJoy’s resignation in a tweet on Wednesday: “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.”
In a statement to The New York Times, Connolly, who leads the House subcommittee overseeing the Postal Service, said “the average age of the postal fleet is 30 years.”
He added: “They’re spewing pollution and they are guzzling gas. There is no question we have to replace the fleet, and it is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take electric vehicle technology to the next level with the second-largest vehicle fleet in America.”
The Postal Service owns more than 231,000 vehicles, making up a third of the government’s fleet, The Post reported. According to the EPA, the transportation sector is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the US.
In December, Biden signed an executive order to make the federal government carbon neutral by 2050. It included plans to make all new federal vehicles zero-emission by 2035.
The Postal Service did not immediately reply to Insider’s request for comment.