If you don’t live in Missoula, or you have a well, your city or town owns your water supply (which basically means you’re a stakeholder in that supply). So you’re probably not too worked up over the Montana Public Service Commission’s ruling in favor of the Carlyle Group.
This global asset management firm, a.k.a. a private investment bank, owns Missoula’s water. Most Missoulians would like to own their water and we’ve been trying to buy the privately held company, Mountain Water, from the Carlyle Group for years. It doesn’t want to sell, at least without making an obscene profit.
Finally, a district court judge ruled that Missoula can use its power of eminent domain to buy Mountain Water at a fair market price. But before that ruling, Carlyle decided to sell the company to the giant Canadian corporation, Algonquin Power and Utlilities.
Missoula would like to stop the sale while it’s negotiating with Carlyle. The PSC disagrees and is moving forward with the sale to Algonquin.
Somehow I’m not surprised that the five members of the PSC, all Republicans, would rule against the liberal hotbed known as Missoula. Occasionally Commissioner Travis Kuvalla gets it right but the other four seldom do. (Did y’all see Commissioner Roger Koopman’s take on net neutrality?)
Then there’s this from Commissioner Bob Lake, whose district includes Missoula, and who said his job “isn’t to choose the company’s next owner, but to protect consumers.”
In the future, those who control clean water are going to make those who control today’s petroleum reserves look like pikers. And I’m guessing that neither Carlyle nor Algonquin have Missoulians’ best interests at heart.