Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy appears at a congressional hearing.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testifies during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on August 24, 2020. (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Images/Pool)

'Tear This Deal Up': Outrage as DeJoy Finalizes Plan to Buy Gas-Guzzling Trucks

"DeJoy's plans for the postal fleet will drag us back decades with a truck model that gets laughable fuel economy. We may as well deliver the mail with hummers," said one environmentalist.

Jake Johnson

Progressive lawmakers and environmentalists voiced outrage Wednesday after the U.S. Postal Service—led by Trump megadonor Louis DeJoy—finalized its plan to purchase a fleet of largely gas-powered delivery trucks, a move that flouts President Joe Biden's proposed transition to zero-emission government vehicles.

"DeJoy's environmental review is rickety, founded on suspect calculations, and fails to meet the standards of the law."

The USPS announced in a press release that it "completed its obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, which, in this instance, evaluated the potential environmental impacts of the Postal Service's Next Generation Vehicle Delivery (NGDV) program."

The agency described its move to purchase upwards of 165,000 new trucks—90% of which will be gas-powered—as "fiscally and environmentally responsible," but critics argued the analysis underpinning that characterization is badly flawed.

"DeJoy's plans for the postal fleet will drag us back decades with a truck model that gets laughable fuel economy. We may as well deliver the mail with hummers," Adrian Martinez, a senior attorney at Earthjustice, said in a statement. "DeJoy's environmental review is rickety, founded on suspect calculations, and fails to meet the standards of the law. We're not done fighting this reckless decision."

According to EarthJustice, the "new combustion model gets worse mileage than the 1988 Grumman postal truck model when new, and is designed to weigh just one pound over the threshold that would have subjected it to more efficient light-duty vehicle standards."

"Under the National Environmental Policy Act, federal entities must analyze the consequences of their actions before making them," the group noted. "Here, the Postal Service did a deeply flawed analysis too late. In addition, the Postal Service has thus far avoided holding public hearings on the plans, and says it is rejecting the comments from over 20,000 members of the public who commented on the final plan through Earthjustice's action portal."

The USPS announcement came just three weeks after Biden's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) raised several issues with the mail service's earlier climate analysis of its multibillion-dollar deal with the Wisconsin-based corporation Oshkosh Defense, which plans to manufacture the new delivery trucks with non-union labor in South Carolina.

Specifically, the EPA accused the Postal Service of underestimating the new fleet's future greenhouse gas emissions and failing to "consider more environmentally protective feasible alternatives."

"There should be no reason this plan is moving forward in 2022."

The Postal Service insisted Wednesday that it "carefully reviewed and incorporated feedback" from the EPA and DeJoy claimed his plan for a 10% electric fleet is "ambitious," but climate advocates were far from satisfied.

"USPS is clinging to a polluting past with its inexcusable and shortsighted dirty fleet plan, a decision that will have consequences for decades to come," said Katherine García, Sierra Club's Clean Transportation for All director. "The Biden administration, Congress, environmental and public health groups, and air regulators have made it clear that electrifying the Postal Service must be a top priority for climate and public health."

"Refusing to hold a public hearing on such a flawed and controversial plan speaks volumes about the ill intentions of Postmaster Louis DeJoy," García added. "There should be no reason this plan is moving forward in 2022."

While it's undeniable that the aging USPS fleet is in desperate need of replacement—as evidenced by the hundreds of delivery trucks that have caught fire in recent years—environmentalists and progressive members of Congress have argued that the new vehicles should be completely electric, so as to help tackle the biggest single source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

It's not clear precisely how opponents of DeJoy's plan intend to respond as the USPS—an independent agency—plows ahead with the purchasing process. Martinez of Earthjustice told the Washington Post earlier this month that he "highly suspects" environmental advocates will try to take the Postal Service to court over the contract.

In Congress, Democratic lawmakers are reportedly "exploring ways of blocking the plan," but their options are uncertain.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) wrote in a Twitter post Wednesday that "we need to tear this deal up and build an all-electric fleet of USPS vehicles."

"Postmaster Louis DeJoy is making a huge mistake rejecting the reality of climate change and the commitments that President Biden has made to confront this crisis," Markey added.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Fulton County Subpoenas of Trump Allies Offer Hope 'That Justice Will Ultimately Be Served'

"The coordinated attempts by former President Donald Trump and his associates to discount and ignore the will of Georgian voters during the 2020 election cannot be swept under the rug," said one activist.

Jessica Corbett ·

Russian Official Makes Nuclear Threat Over US Support for Ukraine War Crimes Probe

Another official responded to Western sanctions by suggesting that Russia could reclaim Alaska.

Brett Wilkins ·

Biden Denounced for Imposing New Sanctions as Iran Nuclear Talks Falter

One Middle East expert accused the U.S. administration of "continuing and embracing Trump's max pressure policy, while expecting a different result."

Brett Wilkins ·

Under 'Draconian Abortion Ban,' Woman in El Salvador Sentenced to 50 Years for Pregnancy Loss

Laws like El Salvador's are "now being replicated in states across the U.S.," noted one observer.

Julia Conley ·

Warren, Sanders, and Others Blast Biden's 'Failure' on Federal Cannabis Policy

While commending Biden's pardons and commutations, six senators wrote that "much more has to be done to address the racist and harmful legacy of cannabis policies on Black and Brown communities."

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo