Rep. Jared Golden, of Maine, D-2nd District, introduced legislation on Tuesday to halt the consolidation of mail processing facilities nationwide, taking the step just days after the U.S. Postal Service said it plans to shift some operations from Hampden 130 miles south to Scarborough.

“Reducing local mail processing capacity and requiring mail to travel farther before reaching its recipient will make the Postal Service worse, particularly for rural communities where timely deliveries are a lifeline,” Golden said in a statement. “It’s clear that Congress needs to stop these consolidations and hold the decision-makers involved accountable.”

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Rep. Jared Golden Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press

Golden is sponsoring the bill with Rep. August Pfluger, a Texas Republican who said Postal Service plans to scale back operations in Midland, Texas, and elsewhere would affect those who rely on essential mail services for business transactions, educational materials, voting processes, medications and bill payments.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service did not immediately respond Tuesday to an emailed request for comment on the legislation and plans to consolidate processing centers.

The legislation would eliminate funding for the Mail Processing Facility Review process, blocking the USPS’ plans to shift mail processing from Hampden to Scarborough, Golden said. The bill also would require future consideration of consolidation to be reviewed by the Postal Regulatory Commission, an independent and bipartisan oversight panel.

The USPS has said by consolidating plant operations it will add a sorting and delivery center at the Hampden site, providing faster and more reliable mail and package delivery over a greater geographic area with upgraded sorting equipment, faster delivery options and better conditions for employees.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, also has criticized the USPS’s decision, saying it will delay local mail delivery.

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