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USPS Is Facing New Legal Challenges to Its Vehicle Contract and Its Authority to Increase Prices

April 28, 2022

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The U.S. Postal Service is facing challenges on multiple fronts of its plan to modernize the agency, as environmental groups are suing it over its purchase of primarily gas-powered vehicles to replace its aging fleet and mailers are protesting its ability to significantly increase rates.

USPS failed to fulfill all of its legal obligations in conducting an impact study as required by the National Environmental Policy Act, said the groups Earthjustice, CleanAirNow KC, the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity in a lawsuit filed in the U.S. Court for the Northern District of California. Separately, the National Resources Defense Council and United Auto Workers filed a lawsuit making similar allegations in the U.S. Court for the Southern District of New York. The groups are pushing USPS to purchase more electric vehicles as it replaces 165,000 delivery trucks and vans.

Postal leadership has come under fire from activists, Democratic lawmakers and the White House over its plan to purchase primarily internal combustion engine vehicles rather than EVs, so far committing to buying just 20% electric in its initial order of 50,000 trucks. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has said he is open to buying a larger share of EVs, but cannot afford to do so without an appropriation from Congress.

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