A spokeswoman for Carolyn B. Maloney (DN.Y.), who chaired the House of Representatives’ oversight and reform committee, accused the postal service of ignoring “its responsibility to reduce the environmental impact of its fleet.” She said there was compelling evidence that the postal service had made erroneous calculations by deciding to purchase gas-powered trucks that earn 8.6 mpg – an improvement of 0.4 mpg compared to the current 30-year-old fleet – and not battery-powered cars.
The hearing again sparked efforts by Democrats in Congress to put pressure on the postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, to shift his agency’s fleet to zero-emission trucks or allocate funding to the agency to purchase cleaner vehicles.
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It could also give potential opponents of the postal service in the courtroom considerable fodder for the court. The commission of five people included experts who testified under oath, who were critical of the plans and justifications of the postal service. Groups of environmental activists have been signaling for months that they may challenge the agency’s procurement, arguing that the postal service’s findings are based on erroneous assumptions.
“I will not back down until the postal service finally follows the example of the private sector and begins a real transition to the electric fleet,” said Maloney. “The transition to electricity is necessary for our environment, for the profit of the postal service and for our national security.”
“Today we learned a lot about the mistakes and inconsistencies that seem to be at the heart of this unusual decision, which is so contrary to what the private sector is doing,” said Jared Huffman, of California, one of Congress’ main advocates of climate law. .
DeJoy placed an order for the first 50,000 new cars on March 24; Electric vehicles accounted for 20 percent of the purchase, although the agency promised to electrify only 10 percent of vehicles purchased during the 10-year contract.
The postal service plan is far from meeting the White House’s goals of converting the entire federal civilian fleet to electric vehicles by 2035. The postal agency’s 217,000 vehicles make up the largest share of the government’s civilian vehicles.
Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and even the growth in electric vehicle sales – which account for about 5 percent of new vehicle sales – has not yet dealt a significant blow to the automotive market. Proponents of electric vehicles hoped that the acquisition of the postal service would lift the industry.
Victoria Stephen, head of the postal service’s program for “Next-generation transport,” told the committee that the agency had purchased as many electric vehicles as its current financial conditions allow. The agency has $ 131 billion in unreasonable liabilities – even after Congress passed a law in March to reduce its balance of $ 107 billion in arrears and future payments. President Biden is due to sign the bill on Wednesday.
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“We have postponed maintenance, we have postponed investment,” Stephen said. “It is long overdue to replace not only vehicles. There are things related to structural infrastructure that are part of what the postal service needs to work efficiently and effectively over the coming decades. ”
Politicians on both sides of the political aisle agree that obsolete mail truck trucks are dangerous and in dire need of replacement. The fleet is 30 years old and there is no airbag and air conditioning. It is known that the trucks caught fire due to years of overuse.
The agency is also in the midst of DeJoy’s 10-year transformation plan to reorient the postal service to a growing parcel delivery business and eliminate long-term financial losses.
But liberal lawmakers rejected the position, saying the agency’s private-sector rivals Amazon, FedEx and UPS were already well ahead of the postal service in electrifying the fleet. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
Stephen said the comparison to these businesses was unwarranted because postal vehicles require more stops and starts on their routes than competitors ’trucks.
Witness Joe Britton, executive director of the Zero Emission Transportation Association, said the driving cycle instead makes postal routes even more suitable for electric trucks.
“Starting and stopping, especially if you have strong regenerative braking, will provide you with more power in city driving, especially when used when you start and stop every 20 or 30 feet,” he said.
Republicans in the committee have tried to postpone the hearing to Hunter Biden, the son of the president, who in 2016 was involved in the sale of Congolese cobalt mine to a Chinese conglomerate. MP James Kamer (Kiruntsiya), the main Republican in the college, invited Hunter Biden to testify; instead Kenny Stein, political director of the orthodox Institute for Energy Research, testified at the invitation of the Republican Party.
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“When we talk about the transition to electric vehicles, rare earth minerals are a crucial element of that,” Komer said, noting that U.S. domestic production of the resources needed for car batteries lags far behind China’s production.
Democrats have urged Stephen to submit to the committee records of the postal service’s analysis of how many electric vehicles she will purchase, and said they would try to include funding for electric trucks in future legislation.
The Biden administration’s initial social spending package “Back Better” contained $ 6 billion on electric mail trucks and chargers. Biden’s proposal for the 2023 budget includes $ 300 million for electric mail vehicles and charging stations.
“If funding had been provided to us, we would have completely adjusted our plans,” Stephen said. “Our plans today reflect what we can afford with our own resources.”