OPEN LETTER TO MONTANA’S PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION,

*

Howdy!

Looks like you got yourselves a Republican supermajority for awhile. Congratulations.

According to the initial reporting from the Republic of Mizzula, the winds will be blowing free of subsidy here in Montana because…

…state energy policy should focus on “affordable and reliable power for Montana families and businesses without preference to the kind or source of energy or special interest,” Gallagher said.

But this letter is not about subsidizing wind power. Instead, it’s about the immense power your Republican supermajority now wields over the fate of…taxis.

Jessica Murray, the co-owner of Missoula’s Green Taxi, says her company consistently gets calls from locals who need rides to medical appointments. But Green Taxi, with its fleet of two Toyota Priuses, has to turn those requests down, because it’s not licensed by the Montana Public Service Commission, which regulates motor carriers in the state, to transport patients.

An interesting barrier, or, one might say, an onerous, small-business killing regulation.

I would be curious to hear what The Montana Regulation Project thinks about the role of the PSC in administering this rigorous licensing process.

Anyway, good luck PSC Republican supermajority. And to everyone in Helena as things get going, if you’ve had too many adult beverages, support local business and take a cab!

Sincerely,

Liz


  1. Pete Talbot

    With this newly elected commission, Montanans can look forward to more deregulation/Montana Power-type debacles in the future, IMHO.

    • lizard19

      maybe TK will bend a practical ear.

    • Eric

      Lest you forget Pete, It was a 4-1 Dem PSC that deregulated energy in Montana, on PSC Docket 99.4.82.

      The only Republican on the PSC at the time was Gary Feland from Shelby.

      DAVE FISHER, NANCY MCCAFFREE, BOB ANDERSON, and
      BOB ROWE were the four Dems.

      And where is Bob Rowe at today?

      He’s the top guy at PPL – but I’m sure it has nothing to do with the blank check he helped approve, right?

      So don’t try to make it a partisan issue, because you’re on the losing end of it.

      As far as wind power goes, why promote something that raises our rates ?

      When the wind stops, the power stops.

      When the wind blows too hard, the power stops.

      So we subsidize the construction, operation, maintenance, and we guarantee them a profit.

      With a 2000-3000 year supply of cheap coal, I’ll take lower rates, and less Govt handouts thank you.

      • JC

        “Cheap”??? Quantify me the externalities of a 9meter sea rise in the next couple of centuries, and you’ll have an idea of just how cheap burning coal really is.

        As to your claims about dereg, what a dipshit. Montana Power Company was deregulated by actions of Congress in 1992 and the Montana Legislature in May, 1997, the “Electric Utility Industry Restructuring and Consumer Choice Act” in particular.

        Here, read the Missoulian’s special report from a decade ago about it and learn something.

        “During the 1997 Legislature, when lawmakers signed off on the deregulation package hammered out by Montana Power and other interested parties, the company kept 18 lobbyists working full-time in Helena at a cost of about $140,000, far outstripping any other industry’s lobbying efforts.”

        Or here, read a scholarly article about it.

        Oh, and by the way, lest you forget, the 1997 legislature was dominated by republicans, 99-51 with Republican Governor Marc Racicot signing the bills. Remember Racicot, he who then went on to be an Enron lobbyist, and Bush loyalist (even running his reelection campaign in ’04).

        ’nuff said about this trash talking, republican historical revisionism.

      • JC

        ps. if you’re going to go and quote some PSC docket that doesn’t have any hits on Google, and not reference it, you might as well be pulling straw out your ass.

  2. JC

    Well, let’s see if the new guardians of:

    “affordable and reliable power for Montana families and businesses without preference to the kind or source of energy or special interest,”

    are willing to attack subsidized coal-generated electricity? Yes, federal policies have been designed to keep coal-generated power cheap. NOt to mention subsidizing oil and nuclear power forever, too:

    CHEAP DOMESTIC POWER

    Powder River Basin coal, which supplies about 40 percent of U.S. demand, has typically gone to feed domestic power plants, and policymakers never considered Asian sales when they conceived royalty rules, Reuters reported in October.

    The coal policies meant to keep domestic power cheap and abundant are now padding the bottom lines of companies such as Arch Coal Inc, Peabody Energy Corp and Cloud Peak Energy Corp at the expense of taxpayers”

    Yes, it would be humorous to see our new conservative PSC crew lambast federal and state subsidies to their buddies in the traditional energy businesses. But somehow, I think their notion of “preference” will only be applied to “green” technologies.

  3. Big Swede

    Oh, I see wind powered turbines aren’t subsidized.

    And isn’t the Billings Corette Plant being shut down over the absence of green tech.?

    Didn’t we just have arguments about our coal plant killing 6 people a yr. with their emissions?

    I can’t help to think that if or coal plants killed as many birds and bats as one wind tower they’d be shut down long ago.

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/8807761/wind-farms-vs-wildlife/

  4. lizard19

    Missoula legislator, Ellie Hill, is proposing legislation to deal with the PSC’s oversight of taxi services.




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