Recently, KGVO News reported that the Montana Public Service Commission ruled that L&L Site Services was granted permission to begin offering trash hauling services in Missoula County.

Updating that story, Commissioner Jennifer Fielder and Commission President James Brown both appeared on Friday’s Talk Back show to explain the current status of the case.

“We have a rule here at the Public Service Commission that allows a party to ask us for a reconsideration of our decision, and so Republic has filed that request for reconsideration,” began Commissioner Brown. “(The Commission) will act upon that, and then whatever the Commission decides as to the reconsideration, that would be the point where Republic, in theory, could petition the District Court to reverse our decision and the next option would be for the party, and we’re presuming that someone would file a case here. But if that were the scenario, then the losing party at the District Court could appeal to the Montana Supreme Court.”

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Brown said whatever the Montana Supreme Court decides, if the case is appealed, would be the final word.

Commissioner Jennifer Fielder responded to a listener who said there may be a possibility that L&L wanted to ‘cherry pick’ the best routes in Missoula and leave the less desirable areas to Republic.

“L&L was specifically asked whether they would be providing services to all customers in Missoula County or whether they would be ‘cherry picking’ as you phrased it,” said Commissioner Fielder. L&L testified that they would provide the service to anybody that called them and requested the service in Missoula County, and their license does allow them to serve all points and places in Missoula County.”

Commissioner Fielder praised Brown for returning stability to a once-troubled Public Service Commission.

“I think the commission dynamic has really changed since James Brown has been elected to the commission,”: she said. “He got elected in the same time I did in late 2020, and we both got inaugurated on the same day in early January of 2021, and it's been an absolute pleasure working with him. I mean, this gentleman actually came in as a new commissioner, and was unanimously elected by the entire commission on his first day to serve as our commission chairman, which we enacted.”

During the interview, a Talk Back caller expressed their support for Brown, who is also running for a seat on the Montana Supreme Court. A caller criticized him for injecting politics into the Supreme Court race, to which Brown said he was simply responding to a question about the Supreme Court ‘legislating from the bench’.

“I've seen time and again where decisions in Montana courts both at the District Court level and that the Supreme Court have been made on what I called equity factors and not the law, and those decisions are being made based on how judges think the case should turn and not how the law actually dictates it, and that's the reason I'm running. I believe that the court system should basically stay in its lane, understand its role which is to do justice in individual cases, and not to make law from the bench.”

KGVO will follow the story and report when the PSC rules on Republic’s request for reconsideration and if the matter is appealed to the Montana Supreme Court.

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