A Wave of Lawsuits Aims to Halt Louis DeJoy’s Gas-Guzzling Postal Fleet

USPS is “doubling down on outdated technologies that are bad for our environment and bad for our communities.”

These bad boys have been on the road since 1987, guzzling one gallon of gas every 8.2 miles, on average.Mark Hertzberg/Zuma

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

The saga of the United States Postal Service’s planned gas-guzzling fleet continues.

Sixteen states and two environmental activist groups—Earthjustice and the Natural Resources Defense Council—are suing USPS to halt its purchase of a fleet of of gas-guzzling mail trucks. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has come under fire in recent months for his decision to move forward with a contract for 165,000 new postal trucks—90 percent of which would run on gas and earn 8.6 miles per gallon.

In their suit, the environmental groups point out that DeJoy did not begin an environmental review of the contract until after the Postal Service had already issued a $483 million initial payment to to Oshkosh Defense, the manufacturer of the new trucks. The Environmental Protection Agency has contended that the review itself was flawed.

“Electrifying the Postal Service fleet would reduce smog and particulate matter pollution in nearly every neighborhood in America,” the plaintiffs write. “Postal delivery routes are stop-and-go by nature, which means that gas-powered delivery vehicles idle just outside people’s homes for much of the day. This daily pollution impacts nearly every single resident in the country, but the harmful effects of this pollution are felt most significantly by low-income communities of color, which are often forced to breathe compounding sources of pollution.”

Sixteen state attorneys general filed a separate suit arguing that the USPS’s plan would hinder their own environmental goals. “The Postal Service has a historic opportunity to invest in our planet and in our future,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta, who is leading the states’ suit, said in a statement. “Instead, it is doubling down on outdated technologies that are bad for our environment and bad for our communities.”

In March, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) introduced a bill that would require the USPS to commit to a new fleet of 75 percent electric vehicles, but the proposal hasn’t moved out of committee.

“Once this purchase goes through, we’ll be stuck with more than 100,000 new gas-guzzling vehicles on neighborhood streets, serving homes across our state and across the country, for the next 30 years,” Bonta said. “We’re going to court to make sure the Postal Service complies with the law and considers more environmentally friendly alternatives before it makes this decision.”

An earlier version of this piece misstated the name of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate