CT Attorney General Joins Lawsuit Over Postal Service Fossil Fuel Fleet

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – The Connecticut Attorney General has joined 16 other attorneys general, New York City and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District in continuing service U.S. Postal Service about its intention to buy fossil fuel vehicles instead of electric vehicles. .

Attorney General William Tong said the suit challenges the Postal Service’s “deeply flawed environmental analysis for its Next Generation Delivery Vehicle Acquisition Program.”

Tong said the Postal Service has the largest civilian vehicle fleet in the world, consisting of more than 212,000 vehicles, many of which are at the end of their useful life. Thursday’s lawsuit alleged that the Postal Service’s plans to replace 90% of that fleet with fossil fuel-powered internal combustion engine vehicles failed to meet even the most basic requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and should be cancelled.

“This massive purchase of vehicles by the U.S. Postal Service is a generational opportunity to transition to modern, zero-emission electric vehicles for the betterment of our country,” Tong said. “The Postal Service has the largest civilian vehicle fleet in the world, with vehicles on the road six days a week in every community across the country. Moving this fleet from fossil fuel engines to zero-emission electric vehicles would have an immediate positive impact on local air quality and our state’s greenhouse gas emissions. The Postal Service ignored its clear legal obligations to consider these environmental impacts, and this ill-conceived purchase should not take place. »

Tong said Postal Service vehicles are on the road six days a week in every community in the United States. Although vehicles play a vital role in delivering the nation’s mail, they also emit significant amounts of greenhouse gases and other hazardous air pollutants. Many USPS facilities are located in environmental justice communities that are already overburdened by pollution. As most vehicles are nearing the end of their useful life, he said the Postal Service has the option of converting its fleet to zero-emission electric vehicles, a change that would reduce pollution in these overburdened communities and help fight pollution. the climate crisis.

Given the transformational nature of this change and its significant environmental and public health implications, Tong said the USPS is compelled to consider the impacts of its next-generation delivery vehicle acquisition program. under the National Environmental Policy Act. Instead, the Postal Service picked a manufacturer, signed a contract, and paid a hefty down payment for the new vehicles, before even releasing a cursory environmental review. The environmental review, which was later finalized, did not consider or assess vehicle fleets with a greater mix of electric vehicles, opting instead to replace up to 165,000 of its delivery vehicles with vehicles. powered by 90% fossil fuels over the next ten years.

In the lawsuit, the coalition argued that the USPS’ final environmental impact statement (EIS) violated the National Environmental Policy Act and should be rescinded because:

  • The Postal Service violated well-established legal precedent by signing contracts with a defense contractor to acquire the vehicles before releasing its draft environmental review;
  • The Postal Service did not consider reasonable alternatives to its proposed action and arbitrarily rejected any consideration of vehicle fleets with a higher percentage of electric vehicles;
  • The Postal Service’s environmental review failed to properly consider air quality, environmental justice, and the climate impacts of purchasing a primarily fossil fuel-powered fleet;
  • The final SIA did not ensure the scientific integrity of its analysis by relying on unfounded assumptions and by not providing the source of the data it took into account; and
  • The final EIS is inconsistent with state policies aimed at reducing fossil fuel consumption and encouraging the development and use of clean vehicles.

Attorney General Tong joined attorneys general from California, New York, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, as well as the City of New York and the Air Quality Management District of the region of Bay, by taking legal action.

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