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Huron Post Office part of plans to consolidate mail processing plants

A national newspaper trade group has lambasted U.S. Postal Service plans to close or consolidate more than 80 mail processing facilities after January, including one in Huron.

The Postal Service announced Monday it is now targeting mail processing plants for its second round of network consolidation. The list of more than 80 facilities, available online, includes Dakota Central P&DF in Huron.

The National Newspaper Association issued a press release Tuesday objecting to the announcement, warning the move will lower service standards for periodicals and first-class mail.

"We deeply regret our longtime partnership with the Postal Service is about to be further stressed by another degradation of service," wrote Association President Robert M. Williams Jr., publisher of the Blackshear (Ga.) Times, in a letter to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. "NNA does not understand how rising prices, slower service and further concentration of services into urban areas helps our nationwide mail service to survive Internet competition or any other threat."

According to the press release, Donahoe cited a $40 billion USPS debt as a reason for the consolidations. The newspaper association counters that most of the Postal Service's debt is owed for the accelerated prepayment of postal retiree health costs, as required by Congress in a 2006 law -- "punitive" requirements that various groups are lobbying to have relaxed.

"We want postal reform legislation this year," Williams wrote. "NNA firmly believes that mail service to rural and small-town America is critical to local economies. We will not stand by quietly when it is put at risk."