Count on Doug Mood for a bad energy policy

by Pete Talbot

PSC candidate Doug Mood voted against Missoula’s Green Taxi. While this isn’t as big an issue as, say, his vote to deregulate Montana Power when he was in the legislature, it tells us a lot about his mindset.

The Montana Public Service Commission regulates a bunch of stuff, including public transportation: buses, taxis and the like. Along with fellow regressive Brad Molnar, incumbent Mood said “no” to granting a permit to Green Taxi. Fortunately, the other three commissioners said “yes.”

I spoke to a visitor who had just taken the Green Taxi. His name is David Payne and he was in town to speak about “sustainable venturing.” He’s a professor and consultant on sustainable business issues, and talks to folks in the organic food, green building and alternative energy industries. He was checking out some of Missoula’s green ventures.

He said that the taxi got 43 mpg around town, in stop-and-go traffic, with the air conditioning on.

Now this alone may not make us energy independent or reverse climate change, but it’s the kind of trend that will drive a new wave of entrepreneurs, and Lord knows, we could use a little innovative thinking in this stalled economy.

Of course, we’ll need some leadership, and some progressive legislation, to advance this sort of thinking. Doug Mood isn’t the guy for the job.

His opponent, Gail Gutsche, has the vision needed to navigate these new, rough energy, economic and envionmental waters. Remember her at the polls Nov. 4.

  1. Ryan Morton

    Well, it’s nice to see the PSC getting some attention around Missoula. Although transportation doesn’t typically take up much of the PSC’s time, if taxis get Missoula’s attention then great. I’d also encourage anyone running for PSC to continue the hard work that’s already been done to secure a non-fossil fuel backed energy portfolio for Northwestern Energy. People also forget that Northwestern will help weatherize your home in preparation for winter to keep your power bills down (thanks again PSC). Oh, and keeping your phone lines going is part of what the PSC does for us as well… oh, to be a rate analyst/economist again…


    The PSC requires a huge learning curve for anyone walking into that office. Walking in with too much of an agenda can really damage your credibility in such a technical regulatory environment. The PSC administers the law with only a small degree of “policy flexibility.” We should be encouraging smart, adaptive, well-balanced candidates to the PSC, not ideologues (of the right or the left).

  2. Molnar supported deregulation and the selling of our energy infrastructure….and both he and Mood are so entrenched up there in their “Good Old Boys Club” blind homage to big business that any fair person would call that an ideology that needs to go.

    Gutsche has a record as not only a small business owner, but a muli-term legislator that didn’t just sit around. She worked hard there, and I’m sure she’ll do the same when she’s elected to the PSC.

    Definitely time to clean house up there at the PSC – Vote Gail Gutsche (here on the west side) and Vote Ron Tussing on the Billings side.

  3. goof houlihan

    There’s those boneheaded republicans again, supporting MORE controls and regulation, and I mean that. I’ve long argued that the PSC needs to get the hell out of taxis and garbage(recycling too) and bus service and let the local market do the work.

    Hope you and Gutsche are both making that argument too, jh.

    John Vincent, the (D) PSC candidate in these parts, rightfully ran for governor in the Democratic primary a few years back, and unfortunately got his butt kicked. Since he sucked so bad as a gubernatorial candidate, can we trust him with the PSC? I mean really, if he was so bad compared to Governor Jokester, according to his own party, why would I vote for him? Yeah, of course I am, but then again, why? Is it just my “non partisan” side showing?

    Heck, it’s good to bring this election forward, but maybe for my part a different reason. The failed police chief with the awful and costly lost lawsuits against the City of Billings versus the cheat isn’t exactly an attractive ballot. Can we get more attractive candidates for these seats? Does it say something about the PSC in general?

  4. goof houlihan

    PSC district 3: None of them say a damn thing about buses or taxis or garbage(recycling).

    Democrat John Vincent and Republican Alan Olson will square off in November for the seat. Each is unopposed in Tuesday’s primary.

    Both men have a long history of service in office.

    Vincent spent 16 years in the Montana House, serving as Speaker of the House twice. He served on the Bozeman City Commission for four years, two as mayor. He was also a Gallatin County commissioner for six years.

    Olson served eight years in the state House, all of them on the House Energy and Technology Committee, with four years as its chairman.

    Both men say they opposed deregulation of Montana utilities.

    “My key issue is to continue down the path I established in the Legislature to bring a close to deregulation, and bring stability back for utility ratepayers and utility companies,” Olson said.

    Olson is currently working as an environmental field technician for the state’s Board of Oil and Gas Conservation and is a 30-year veteran of the private oil and gas industry.

    Both men support wind power as an alternative to coal and other more traditional energy sources.

    Vincent said he’d also vigorously promote other “green,” clean, renewable energy sources like solar and geothermal power. He supports the Western Climate Initiative and would work to promote consensus on energy policy.

    “We need a Montana energy partnership, an all-inclusive alliance of key players … working together to carve out an energy policy that will provide reliable, affordable and clean energy well into the future,” Vincent said.

  5. Miss M

    And Brad Molnar still stands alone, pissing AGAINST the wind and anything else BUT coal. Who’s buttering his bread? When he co-sponsored deregulation, it was Montana Power Company. Who is it now?

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