While any political organization in Montana is going to be hard-pressed to match the embarrassing spectacle the House of Representatives is likely to become, the Public Service Commission is the most likely candidate to make a run at the crown.
Today, with the selection of Bill Gallagher as commission chair, the PSC got off to a good start. Gallagher was nominated by former chair Travis Kavulla. You might remember that back in 2011 Kavulla alleged in a public meeting that Mr. Gallager was using his PSC office to conduct private business, but presumably they’ve worked out those issues.
At the meeting, Gallagher argued against energy that depends on government subsidies:
campaigned against the concept of using the utility bill to force Montana’s families and employers to be unwilling investors in high-cost, low-output, intermittent generation and other programs that at present can exist only through government mandates and substantial tax and ratepayer subsidies.”
Given that peculiar position, it’s hard to understand exactly why Gallagher’s focus was on wind power, given the enormous taxpayer subsidy given to the fossil fuel industry annually. Across the world, governments subsidize oil, gas, and coal to the tune of the three-quarters of a trillion dollars annually.
Here in the U.S. historical subsidies for oil and gas are thirteen times larger than renewable energy sources like wind.
To pretend that fossil fuel extraction doesn’t depend on government subsidy is to ignore historical and contemporary reality. Failing to invest in critical, clean energy technology like wind and other renewables is nothing more than ideologically-driven, short-sighted nonsense.
It’s too bad that no one on the PSC knows better.