NRDC and United Auto Workers v. Louis DeJoy and U.S. Postal Service

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Credit: Sam LaRussa

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is planning to replace the majority of its delivery fleet with thousands of Next Generation Delivery Vehicles over the coming decade. This acquisition is a historic opportunity to put electric vehicles (EVs) and related charging infrastructure in every community in the country. Investing in EVs to deliver the mail would improve local air quality, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and save the USPS money.

Unfortunately, the postal service took a different route. After an environmental review that was flawed at every step, the USPS plans to purchase close to 150,000 gas-powered vehicles for the new fleet, locking in fossil fuel consumption by its delivery trucks for years to come.

NRDC and our partners, including the United Auto Workers (UAW), pointed out the numerous errors in the environmental review. These failures ranged from signing a contract before starting this review to not considering greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions to not analyzing the impacts of where and how the vehicles are made. The USPS also made irrational assumptions about the future prices of gasoline, electricity, and EVs. These issues were so glaring that two other federal agencies with environmental expertise—the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Council on Environmental Quality—also sent letters detailing the deficiencies.

In April 2022, NRDC and the UAW sued Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and the USPS over its review and decision. A new review will give the USPS the accurate information it needs to make an informed decision on what new delivery vehicles, including EVs, it should purchase, and where and how the postal service should assemble the new delivery vehicles. The case is currently pending in federal district court in New York.

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