Postal Service pledges transfer to all-electric supply fleet – Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel

WASHINGTON — In a significant increase for President Biden’s pledge to get rid of gas-powered automobiles from the sprawling federal fleet, the Postal Service stated Tuesday it can sharply improve the variety of electric-powered supply vehicles – and can go all-electric for brand spanking new purchases beginning in 2026.

The put up workplace stated it’s spending practically $10 billion to affect its getting old fleet, together with putting in fashionable charging infrastructure at a whole bunch of postal amenities nationwide and buying at the least 66,000 electrical supply vehicles within the subsequent 5 years. The spending consists of $3 billion in funding permitted below a landmark local weather and well being coverage adopted by Congress final 12 months.

The White Home hailed the announcement as a option to maintain dependable mail service to People whereas modernizing the fleet, lowering working prices and clearing the air in neighborhoods throughout the nation.

“That is the Biden local weather technique on wheels and the U.S. Postal Service delivering for the American folks,” stated White Home local weather adviser Ali Zaidi.

“It’s great that the Postal Service might be on the forefront of the swap to wash electrical automobiles, with postal staff as their ambassadors,” stated John Podesta, a senior White Home adviser. “It would get folks considering, ‘if the postal employee is driving an EV, I can drive an EV, too.’’

The U.S. authorities operates the biggest automobile fleet on the earth, and the Postal Service is the biggest fleet within the federal authorities with greater than 220,000 automobiles, one-third of the general U.S. fleet. The USPS announcement “units the bar for the remainder of the federal authorities, and, importantly, the remainder of the world,” stated Brenda Mallory, chair of the White Home Council on Environmental High quality.

Postmaster Basic Louis DeJoy, who got here below hearth for an preliminary plan that included buy of 1000’s of gas-powered vehicles, stated the Postal Service is required by legislation to ship mail and packages to 163 million addresses six days per week and to cowl its prices in doing so.

“As I’ve stated prior to now, if we are able to obtain these goals in a extra environmentally accountable method, we’ll accomplish that,” he stated in an announcement Tuesday.

DeJoy, a Republican donor and political ally of former President Donald Trump, thanked Podesta and different White Home officers for placing apart political variations to “give attention to transferring the ball ahead.”

The brand new fleet plan is “operationally appropriate, financially viable and local weather pleasant,” DeJoy stated at a information convention exterior Postal Service headquarters.

A smiling Podesta shook fingers with DeJoy and referred to as him “unforgettable” – a pointy distinction to White Home criticism early this 12 months when DeJoy introduced a plan that may have made simply 10% of the company’s next-generation fleet electrical. The White Home and Environmental Safety Company slammed the Postal Service, an unbiased company, for underestimating greenhouse fuel emissions and failing to contemplate extra environmentally sound options.

Environmental teams and greater than a dozen states, together with California, New York and Illinois, sued to halt the preliminary plan and requested judges to order a extra thorough environmental overview earlier than the Postal Service strikes ahead with the fleet-modernization program. The Postal Service later adjusted its plan to make sure that half of its preliminary buy of fifty,000 next-generation automobiles could be electrical.

Katherine García, director of the Sierra Membership’s clear transportation marketing campaign, referred to as the plan introduced Tuesday “a large win for local weather and public well being” and a common sense resolution.

“As a substitute of receiving air pollution with their each day mail packages, communities throughout the U.S. will get the reduction of cleaner air,” she stated.

“Each neighborhood, each family in America deserves to have electrical USPS vehicles delivering clear air with their mail, and right now’s announcement takes us nearly all the best way there,” stated Adrian Martinez, a senior lawyer for Earthjustice, one of many teams that sued the Postal Service.

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., chairman of the Senate Setting and Public Works Committee, stated the Postal Service announcement “represents actual progress,” however stated, “I’m nonetheless not prepared but to name this job completed. We should sustain the strain till 100% of USPS’s supply fleet runs on clear vitality.”

Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., who chairs the Senate Homeland Safety and Governmental Affairs Committee, stated he’ll “push for each a part of the postal fleet to be environmentally pleasant and union-made.”

Along with fashionable security tools, the brand new supply automobiles are taller, making it simpler for postal carriers to seize the packages that make up a larger share of quantity. In addition they have improved ergonomics and local weather management.

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