Hawaii AG, others oppose USPS changes

Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors has spoken out against a proposed change in U.S. Postal Service operations that would increase mail delivery times throughout the country.

Earlier this month, the USPS proposed new service standards for first-class mail as part of a 10-year plan to make the Postal Service profitable. Under the new standards, about 4% of first-class mail would be upgraded from a three-day to a two-day delivery standard, while about 36% of all first-class mail would be delayed from three-day service to four- or five-day service.

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Connors and 20 other attorneys general around the country wrote a joint letter in opposition to the proposed changes and previous actions by U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy that slowed mail deliver last year.

“Because of our location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii depends on having varied, economical ways of sending and receiving letters, gifts, commercial packages and other items,” Connors said in a statement. “It is therefore critical to Hawaii’s welfare that the United States Postal Service continues to function efficiently and affordably.”

The joint letter addresses a series of changes implemented in 2020 that severely impacted mail delivery — according to postal agency data, 1 in 5 pieces of mail in the U.S. was delivered late during the first three months of 2021.

“Those initiatives, which included drastic changes to the Postal Service’s policies with respect to extra and late trips, were implemented virtually overnight, in the middle of a pandemic, and without any prior input from the (Postal Regulatory) Commission,” the letter states. “Mail delivery across the nation slowed, and Americans who depended on the Postal Service for the delivery of prescription medication, paychecks and other necessities were left stranded.”

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The 14-page letter concludes by urging the USPS to abandon the proposed changes and instead “refocus its energies on fixing its ongoing performance deficiencies.”

Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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