HELENA – The Montana Public Service Commission is giving a second company authorization to start hauling trash in Missoula, setting up competition for solid waste business.
L&L Site Services, which is based in Belgrade, had first asked the PSC for permission to expand operations to Missoula County last spring.
But the move was contested by Republic Services, who argued support for the application was coming from a small number of dissatisfied customers and not a “broader need”. In August, PSC commissioners denied L&L’s application.
However, the company filed a petition for reconsideration last month, and yesterday the PSC approved the application on a split vote of 3-to-2.
Commissioner Roger Koopman said L&L had proven it satisfied the “heavy burden” the PSC places on new solid waste operators.
“The law we are required to enforce puts a very heavy burden on any new company wanting to enter a monopolized trash hauler market,” Koopman said.
“At the same time, regulators must be willing to view such cases through the lens of competition and freedom, and to take seriously the obvious public benefits of competition and choice over one-company protectionism,” Koopman added.
“The Commission’s reversal of its earlier ruling is great news for all Missoula consumers who value their right to choose.”
Commissioner Bob Lake, who represents Missoula, remained against L&L’s application, saying there was incomplete evidence, questioning whether a second hauler would “bring something better to the community.”
In addition to Belgrade, L&L operates in Big Sky, Bozeman, Manhattan, Three Forks and West Yellowstone.