Interview with Brett Rosenberg, Candidate for PSC District 4

Missoula’s Brett Rosenberg is running for the Public Service Commission District 4 seat because he believes that it is imperative to break the “time warp” inhabited by the current broken PSC and because he believes that Montana can transition to green energy that will better protect the environment and economy of our state.

Rosenberg, who jokes that it was a 2012 Subaru Outback that brought him to Montana, came to Missoula in 2013 when he and his wife decided they want to find a different life than the one they had in Washington D.C. and a job opened up for her at the University of Montana. Rosenberg notes that his professional experience has given him a “broad and deep swath of how America works,” including work helping large industrial sites keep in environmental compliance, at the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and developing and implementing green building policies.

Rosenberg says that he was inspired to run for the PSC when he wanted to develop “small-scale solar for places like manufactured home communities are campgrounds” but found that it was “either illegal or exceedingly expensive or excessively complex” to do so. 

Regarding the ongoing situation at Colstrip, Rosenberg criticized the PSC’s encouragement of continued support for coal, noting that it goes against “every market trend in the country right now” and that it made little sense to push for more coal development with coal companies going bankrupt across the country.

Rosenberg called for the PSC to use its influence to bring together Montanans for a conversation about the future of coal and our green energy future, noting that the PSC is in:

a real strong leadership position to go to the state legislature and the governor’s office to start this conversation to recognize that it’s time to put  this energy landscape in the hands of Montana, and that part of that coalition should be representative of the people of Colstrip, representatives from the renewable energy industry, representatives from from labor, and anyone else who has a some skin in the game to really start focusing on how we produce and use energy. The PSC  doesn’t have to be the boss; it can it can help catalyze a conversation and help catalyze those who can make decisions that would keep energy reliable.

When asked about how the range of climate skepticism to outright denial could be challenged at the PSC, Rosenberg struck a pragmatic note, calling for a focus on getting results rather than worrying who is responsible or skeptical about climate change:

I plod on on solutions rather than talking about who causes what or who is responsible, who’s a denier, who’s a skeptic and just get stuff done. What I’m trying to get done with regard to the Public Service Commission is that redefinition of Montana’s energy landscape that does deal with energy efficiency at the building level and I hope they will come from renewable clean and reliable resources in the near future and forever. I’m sensitive to what people perceive to be high energy costs and Montana is somewhere in the middle for this part of the world but it’s still pretty cheap but I am reluctant to just say we need to throw all these different renewable resources at it, be damned with the cost, because poverty is probably worse for the climate than stuff like natural gas is to some extent. But I also will say that people who are skeptical might be skeptical because we’re shoving stuff down their throats whereas maybe if we welcome them into the conversation, we could work together.

For more of the interview, be sure to listen to the whole interview, in which we discuss net metering, Northwestern Energy’s claim about potential brownouts in the state, the politics of the race, and more.

Check out his web site and Facebook page for more information and give the interview a listen right here.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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