Sen. Carper Statement on U.S. Postal Service’s Processing and Distribution Center at Hares Corner

WILMINGTON, Del. – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) released the following statement on the U.S. Postal Service’s announcement regarding its Processing and Distribution Center at Hares Corner:

“The news that we heard today from leadership at the U.S. Postal Service’s Processing and Distribution Center at Hares Corner is certainly welcome, and I share the feeling of relief with the hundreds of Hares Corner employees and the thousands of Postal Service customers in Delaware who depend on this facility. When it was announced late last year that the Hares Corner processing center was under review for consolidation, I took the notification seriously and my staff and I fully engaged, along with our Congressional delegation, in the Postal Service’s official review process and encouraged the Hares Corner employees and customers to do so, as well. After speaking and meeting with Hares Corner employees and Postal customers – both business and residential – and researching extensively the impact of the consolidation and potential alternatives, I felt confident that we were able to make the case that it did not make sense to close Delaware’s only mail processing and distribution center – for both the Postal Service and for Delaware and the surrounding region. Over a period of three weeks, the staff from our Congressional delegation visited four mail processing centers in three states as part of an all-hands-on-deck effort to craft a more thoughtful, cost-effective alternative than the Postal Service’s original proposal. Our case was bolstered by the information provided by hundreds of postal employees, customers and stakeholders, along with Senator Chris Coons, Congressman John Carney, and Governor Jack Markell, who came together with me to present a thoughtful, thorough case to the Postal Service detailing why the consolidation of Hares Corner would be detrimental to the quality of mail service we receive, and also to our overall economy. We asked the Postal Service to consider this alternative – which we call a third way – and we’ve been told that the Postal Service is considering that plan.

“The loss of the First State’s only mail processing and distribution facility would have put our state at a competitive disadvantage, potentially driving business away from Delaware and forcing mail from all parts of the state – including Sussex County – to travel to southern New Jersey for processing. It would also have displaced hundreds of Hares Corner employees. I am satisfied that the Postal Service came to the same conclusion – that its original proposal was wrong and should be rejected.

“That being said, we shouldn’t overlook that the Postal Service’s interest in changing operations at Hares Corner was part of a larger, nationwide effort to streamline postal operations to reflect the reduced demand for hard-copy mail. There are hundreds of other processing centers and post offices still under review by the Postal Service. These facilities fall under the same review process and public comment period requirements as Hares Corner. That process allows communities to study and contest decisions made by the Postal Service, and also to suggest viable alternatives to what has been proposed. It remains critical that these proceedings – for each community – are transparent and fair to both postal employees and customers so that the right decisions are made.

“The debates about postal facilities and mail service underway around the country underscore again the very dire financial challenges the Postal Service faces. The unfortunate truth is that, if nothing is done, the Postal Service will be insolvent within a year. A collapse of the Postal Service would be devastating, bringing more pain to communities across the country and wreaking havoc on our already fragile economy. That is why Congress and the Administration must act quickly to address the Postal Service’s significant financial problems. The Senate is expected to consider bipartisan Postal reform legislation – the 21st Century Postal Service Act – that I co-authored along with Sens. Lieberman (ID-CT), Collins (R-ME), and Scott Brown (R-MA) by early spring, and I hope that Congress will pass a final bill for the President to sign into law soon thereafter.”