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A Kansas City group helped push the USPS to spend billions on new electric mail trucks

A mail truck sits on a neighborhood street.
Pope Moysuh

The CleanAirNow Coalition was one of many environmental groups that, along with 16 U.S. states, sued the U.S. Postal Service over their plan to purchase heavily-polluting gasoline trucks. Now the USPS will electrify its fleet of mail delivery vehicles.

The U.S. Postal Service is set to spend $10 billion over the next five years to shift the makeup of its fleet of mail trucks to include more electronic delivery vehicles.

The shift comes as the result of pressure from numerous environmental organizations, state governments and the Biden administration to transition the USPS fleet of more than 230,000 vehicles to more environmentally friendly options.

In April, several activist groups and 16 U.S. states filed lawsuits against the USPS to halt its purchase of thousands of gas-powered trucks

The CleanAirNow Coalition, a Kansas City based non-profit that is dedicated to improving air quality and preventing disease caused by air pollution, was one of the groups that joined the suit.

Beto Martinez, the executive director of CleanAirNow, told KCUR's Up To Date that the change is long overdue for what is one of the largest civilian vehicle fleets in the world.

“It's interesting, because the manufacturers and industry, they're already there with the technology,” said Martinez. “This is an opportunity for them to shift into that direction.”

According to a statementreleased by the USPS, the organization plans to purchase at least 66,000 electric vehicles by 2028, and end the purchase of non-electric vehicles by 2026.

“We have a statutory requirement to deliver mail and packages to 163 million addresses six days per week and to cover our costs in doing so — that is our mission," Postmaster General Louis DeJoy wrote in the statement. "As I have said in the past, if we can achieve those objectives in a more environmentally responsible way, we will do so.”

“I think this is a very good step forward,” Martinez said. “It shows the benefits it has to the climate, public health, and most importantly, it shows the direction that the administration has also set forward to prioritize our local communities across the country.”

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As a host and contributor at KCUR, I seek to create a more informed citizenry and richer community. I want to enlighten and inspire our audience by delivering the information they need with accuracy and urgency, clarifying what’s complicated and teasing out the complexities of what seems simple. I work to craft conversations that reveal realities in our midst and model civil discourse in a divided world. Follow me on Twitter @ptsbrian or email me at brian@kcur.org.
As Up To Date’s senior producer, I construct daily conversations that give our listeners context to the issues of our time. I strive to provide a platform that holds those in power accountable, while also spotlighting the voices of Kansas City’s creatives and visionaries that may otherwise go unheard. Email me at zach@kcur.org.
As KCUR’s Community Engagement Producer, I help welcome our audiences into the newsroom, and bring our journalism out into the communities we serve. Many people feel overlooked or misperceived by the media, and KCUR needs to do everything we can to cover and empower the diverse communities that make up the Kansas City metro — especially the ones who don’t know us in the first place. My work takes the form of reporting stories, holding community events, and bringing what I’ve learned back to Up To Date and the rest of KCUR.

What should KCUR be talking about? Who should we be talking to? Let me know. You can email me at zjperez@kcur.org or message me on Twitter at @zach_pepez.

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