Wednesday, September 24, 2008

PSC Commissioner Brad Molnar -- Montana Headlines interview (Full text)

MH: Commissioner Brad Molnar, welcome to Montana Headlines -- thanks for taking the time to do this interview.

First, we've got to ask this question: are you related to Thomas Molnar…

Brad Molnar: Yes. First cousin.

MH: Hold on, wait for the rest of the question. Thomas Molnar, the famous Hungarian conservative philosopher and historian/political theorist?

Brad Molnar: No. Wrong Hungarian, sorry. Cousin Tom runs a septic pumping service in South Bend, Ind. I don't think that he is very philosophical about it. Don't suppose he thinks it's a political statement either. I could be wrong about that though.

MH: Well, we’re off to quite a start, aren’t we? So let's start with a simple but crucial question: what exactly does a PSC Commissioner do?

Brad Molnar: All fifty states have some form of Commission. Fed regulators (FCC and FERC) share responsibilities with us. If state or federal legislation grants monopoly power we act as a brake to make sure the customer get the value as if there were competition. I'm pretty sure the brake is broke.

MH: Correct us if we're wrong, but you seem to enjoy your job as a PSC Commissioner immensely.

Brad Molnar: Yup.

MH: Put differently, a lot of public office holders enjoy the attention, the power, or the potential for future political ambitions that go with their jobs (yes, that was a little side-swipe at your opponent) -- but don't necessarily seem to enjoy the day to day grind of their lives in public service. You seem, more than most, to just plain enjoy doing what you do. Do we have that right, and is this typical for PSC Commissioners?

Brad Molnar: I truly enjoy the job. Like most before me I am amazed at how different it is from how it is perceived. I would say that all five of us are very dedicated to doing the job as best we can. Even Toole, which surprises me. But he is so political and infecting the Commission that he overshadows the good he can do. Raney and Jergeson have become far more political since Toole got elected.

MH: What is it that you find so enjoyable or satisfying about this job?

Brad Molnar: The total and ongoing exposure to new problems and various solutions in a room filled with very intelligent people and very different ideas. The fight for individual liberty and against runaway liberalism is fought here every day. But it’s not like in the legislature -- you can't go back to your caucus at the mid-day break or go home. You are in for four years. I've actually had to develop people skills...

OK "try" to develop people skills.

MH: We've heard it said that PSC Commissioners have a more direct impact on the daily lives of Montanans than do many state-wide positions that are higher profile. Is that true, and if so, could you explain?

Brad Molnar: We make the Appropriations Committee look like a bunch of panty-waists. Schweitzer talks (and talks and talks,) about energy but we analyze myriad proposals constantly. We recently implemented an additional 50 MW of QF wind (never mind the jargon just catch the drift.) If history holds that will cost consumers over a billion dollars more than the electricity is worth.

And we have zero capacity for ancillary services to firm it. NWE was against it. Montana Consumer Council was against it. I was the only no vote. The press never reported it (Who would write the story and who would understand it?). Only lobbyists and special interest liked it. By the time it kicks in no one will remember it and those that voted for it will be retiring from their new jobs as lobbyists for the same special interests. (Least ways that's my humble opinion)
On a 3-2 vote we OK'd sending 2,000,000 of NWE ratepayer dollars to Portland and Seattle to help spread the word about energy efficiency in the wood pulp industry. I'm sure that most of that money will find its way back to Montana via liberal PACS. Not one word in the daily press. TRY THAT in the legislature.

A rate increase of $15M got big press but the $60M "tracker" we passed several weeks later never got a mention. I was the only no vote and will soon show the world why. But the "why" is a twenty year deal. Legislative actions are only good for two years. Our mistakes can't be undone, are under analyzed, and in the billions of dollars. That is why we have more impact.
And the obvious. You get an energy bill every month. All business and government entities get a utility bill every month -- so you actually pay all three.

MH: Readers of Montana Headlines know that we find your opponent, Billings Mayor Ron Tussing, to be... well, let's not go there.

From a public-interest perspective, we were definitely rooting for Curry in the Democratic primary, but as we wrote in an earlier post, "From a punditry perspective, Molnar vs. Tussing would be a dream: sort of a to-the-death political cage match."

You don't seem like someone to back down from a fight, and you're certainly in one. We haven't seen a lot of fireworks yet -- when will it start, and what shape will it take?

Brad Molnar: It's definitely started. The state Demo party has filed grievances against me with the Office of Political Practices about the Billings Brownout. They were thrown out because Noonan tried twice to get the form right but couldn't quite grasp the concept. Mary Jo Fox (formerly with Raciciot then Martz -- now Tussing's campaign manager) has filed and amended several, also on the Billings Brownout, and of course the D's on the Commission have asked for a ruling from the AG also stemming from the Billings Brownout.

Plainly they feel the Billings Brownout is a good thing in need of attack to try to drown out Tussing's enormous negatives by creating some for me. Pretty stupid. EVERYbody I have talked to about it sees right through it. Does anybody think Tussing could even win Mayor again? The last three days of his campaign for Mayor were a gathering of some of the slimiest people in Montana politics. How they escaped prosecution I have no idea. I expect I'll get some on me as all the old ones are back plus a few new faces.

Because they are issueless they have really tied me up with all the work I have to do on their inane complaints. It is very consuming of emotional capital, money and time. IS this really the best way to form a new government every two years? The Tussing campaign (Led by Mary Jo Fox and Joe Gunthals) is the spiritless fate we must now suffer for failing to rein in crap-mongers during so many campaign cycles. Especially the last mayoral campaign in Billings and the Fox v Cooney for Senate. I fully expect a repeat of the final days of the mayor’s race with enough crap slung by "independent expenditures" to make me vote for Tussing. Tussing’s name is so negative that they can't raise him up. They need to try to bring me down.

MH: One war that you are definitely winning, from what our eastern Montana readers tell us, is the Burma-Shave sign war. Do you expect to maintain your commanding Burma-Shave lead over Tussing -- and so our readers who don’t make it onto the roads of PSC District 2 can know what on earth we're talking about, could you share a couple of your favorite Burma-Shave campaign sign sequences?

Brad Molnar: Displaying all the creativity and originality that Tussing can muster on energy and telecom issues ("I want to explore options and "look for"...never mind) -- Ron Tussing has copied my signs.

MH: Mayor Tussing really is shameless, isn’t he? But in all fairness, he did manage to compose a puerile ditty about the city administrator he was in a fight with -- readers can look that monumental act of creativity up in the MH archives (search for "The House that Ron Tussing Built") -- or in the court records from when the City of Billings was being taken to the cleaners for millions in no small part because of Tussing.

We digress shamelessly -- go on...

Brad Molnar: Of course I copied them from the Burma Shave idea but let’s admit that I took them to a new level in Montana politics. The people that have mentioned Tussing's signs, regardless of party leanings, all use the word "copy cat".

What else did he think people would feel? That he was clever? The rest of us learned in fourth grade that "copycats" were to be shunned on the playground. He has a right to do it but it's dumb and again raises all of his other myriad ethics issues.

But for the unenlightened they are signs with jingles on them rather like the old Burma Shave signs. Some are silly but all fit my theme.

Those Liberal Fellas / Sound Real Clever / Do their ideas work / Never Ever / Molnar for Public Service Commission – (This is the only sign to be stolen so far; last cycle it was the only one to be driven over.)

Mine it now / Drill it now / Don't need Arabs / To show us how / Molnar for Public Service Commission – (This one is very popular. Got me labled a racist. Sheesh.)

When near a school / Drive real slow / Let those little / Voters grow / Molnar for Public Service Commission -- ( This is also a carryover from last cycle. Actually from an original.)

Can't make him run / Can't make him cry / Molnar is / A stand up guy / Molnar for PSC Molnar for PSC -- (In case they were wondering.)

MH: These are, of course, 5 separate signs in a row, and you have to wait a bit for the next line -- very effective. As noted before, you are crushing the opposition in the Burma-Shave wars. Turning to more serious topics on the campaign front, where is this election going to be fought and won?

Brad Molnar: I think that I have to play a heads up game but it is already decided. In redistricting my area was designed to be Republican and Jergeson’s was designed to be Dem. The others are plus or minus 6%.

But 140,000 of my 200,000 voters all live in Yellowstone County. Obama people are really registering a lot of people here but we don't know how many of those will actually vote. That and the Baucus money thing are the only two unknowns.

Other than that the Gazette is the paper of record for the district and everywhere I go people are well aware of Ron's reneging on the $160,000 pay to leave, shoving the reporter and claiming self defense, the law suits, the multiple ethics violations, voting money for his wife’s projects, subordination violations, lying under oath, being already bought and paid for by lobbyists, etc.

Getting yard or Burma sign locations is easy. I just have to say that Tussing is my opponent. I think that the majority of people have already made up their minds about us. If he is the kind of guy (with the kind of followers he has) they want on the PSC they can have him. But plainly even those that supported him for Mayor have come to see that the City Manager was right and Tussing had to go to protect the people of Billings and now they have buyer’s remorse.

I think the primary numbers show that. Curry's campaign was nonexistent (I saw just two yard signs). The Curry votes were not Pro Curry. They were anti-Tussing. No idea what that means in the general. People should wonder why the Dems and liberals are so willing to debase themselves to get Tussing on the PSC when they already have a majority and the odds of Repubs sweeping all three open seats are long.

MH: You mentioned the Gazette as the paper of record in your PSC district. Do you believe that the Montana press in general and the Billings Gazette in particular has given you fair and balanced coverage during your tenure as commissioner and during this campaign?

Brad Molnar: In general "no." But, in truth, I think it is improving. Dennison and I have a respect for each other and trade barbs without ongoing animosity. Actually a healthy reporter/reportee relationship.

I miss talking with Chuck Johnson. He was very unfair to Judy Martz but always fair with me. I think, and hope, that my chagrin with LEE lies with the editors. I know it is with AP. Gouras is OK. Hergenrider in Billings tries to be fair but Lutey is nothing but a partisan hack. The new Capitol Correspondent for the GF Tribune has definite Democrat leanings. Sometimes he overrides them sometimes not. The jury is still out on him.

What's her name, the old GF Capital correspondent, was great. Very unbiased writing but she went to work for Lee in Missoula. Lucky Missoula. AP should have picked her up for Helena. Assume I will have between 45 days and 4 years to regret these comments.

MH: How about being a little more specific and forthright in answering the rest of these questions!

Anyway, while we're on the press, tell us about your working relationship with the Billings Outpost and its editor, David Crisp. Crisp at Billings Blog and Montana Headlines are the totality of the political blogging scene here in this part of the state, so we take a keen interest in the success of the Outpost.

Brad Molnar: I have total respect for David as a person, for his intellect, his ethics, and his journalistic capacities.

MH: While he often describes himself as a conservative, it would seem that you and he would probably have slightly different conceptions of what that word exactly means.

Brad Molnar: I think that David is more like a European style "liberal/conservative" and I am perhaps "right" of that sniveling, teary eyed, limp wristed, panty-waist that wrote Genghis Khan’s prisoner policy.

Dave's and my differences are probably more specific – for example, where we might both agree that the Full Faith and Credit clause of the US Constitution would require all states to recognize a gay marriage from any state, I would argue that it should not because of the 10th Amendment but he would challenge my conservative credentials for making such an interpretative argument after standing on fundamentalist interpretation ideals for so long. Hope that is not too obtuse; and that Dave concurs.

MH: I imagine that we’ll find out, since Billings Blog and MH regularly engage in good-natured, yet substantive disputes.

Anyway, in spite of your differences, your column was a staple at the Outpost for some time.

Brad Molnar: It was very popular. Even in Wyoming. But the #1 comment I got was from Dem's telling me how surprised they were that they actually agreed with me. Dave paid me $30 per column and never tried to censor me. People still tell me they miss it; but alas.

And I miss writing it. Actually the column appeared in several papers off and on.

MH: Let's touch on a few specifics, starting with your public comments condemning the "right to work" plank inserted into the platform at the recent GOP convention. For the record, MH opposes such laws, too. What on earth happened up in Missoula that this plank got shoved into the party platform?

Brad Molnar: That is what happens when people do not pay attention. I was not on the floor when it took place and it is so cloaked that...well, it happened. True conservatives cannot accept government intervening in private sector contracts. Period.

MH: Agreed. How do PSC Commissioners affect the interests of labor union members, and what specifically have you done to look out for them while on the PSC?

Brad Molnar: As you know I was the first Republican in the history of Montana to represent Laurel in the legislature. Some said that the union influence made it impossible. I figured that railroaders did not have enough money to be liberal so talked about what we had in common (which is most things) and they kept me in till term limits.
I actually enjoy working with union guys. They are long on doing and short on pussy footing. But more directly, when the Judith Gap wind farm was being started they wanted to use out of state, non-union contractors. There are no in-state non-union contractors that could have built the project.

At the PSC level I made a motion to place in our docket that "Little Davis Bacon" would apply. Still not sure if it would have applied but I tried. Only got one vote, Raney's. The other D's took a powder.

MH: "Little Davis Bacon?"

Brad Molnar: State version of Federal "prevailing wage."

MH: Got it. So is it possible that Republicans, if they don't insist on blowing it, have the opportunity to win the support of traditional unions in Montana and elsewhere?

Brad Molnar: Of course. Under Jerry Driscoll the AFL-CIO dropped their participation in slime ball politics and focused on jobs for their people. Republicans tend to like that concept so it was symbiotic.

I have encountered a strong union sentiment to that in my PSC campaign. The trade unions pulled Tussing's endorsement to fight for me. (No resolution of that yet. Railroaders in Forsyth recognized me at a cafe, and walked up to offer their support).

Union workers are just individuals. Approach them as such and all things are possible. Don't attack their union. After all it is their union. Let them change its policies if they so desire. They vote on this stuff and their leaders. If you don't like it then join and vote.

How tough is this? It's called freedom. Not every fight requires war. I have noticed that Republicans that complain about union money and "bus loads" of volunteers have not donated a dime to local candidates or even a few afternoons stumping for a candidate.

If we are being out-organized, out-donated, and out-volunteered by a minority, why do we have the right to be critical of others for digging out their pocketbooks and getting off the couch?

MH: You’re preaching to the choir. No whining about unions allowed around here.

Next up is energy deregulation.

Brad Molnar: OH BOY!!!

MH: Well, you knew it was coming. Listening to your opposition, the evil state legislator Brad Molnar was single-handily responsible for deregulation, ensuing high energy prices, and general chaos, mayhem, and destruction. Did we leave anything out?

Brad Molnar: And I did it at the request of my corporate masters....

I was such a powerful legislator that Bob Gannon handpicked me. I didn't even have to show up at the hearings. If you have nothing to say, but an election to win...make it up.
Considering Tussing's history why would this surprise anyone?

MH: You’ve got a point there. But leaving aside the fact that this argument is so… so 1990, are we correct in suspecting that this is, just maybe, a bit of over-wrought election year shrillness?

Brad Molnar: Actually since they have decided that conservation efforts are the root of all evil they have pretty much left this cut and paste argument alone. But I'm sure we will see more of it.

It's really a stupid argument to raise. I'm the one that took my own time and money trying to sue to get it overturned. The D's on the Commission actually took a public vote to try and block the suit to keep the facts from coming to court.

The facts are clear. The PSC acted in collusion with MPC and PPL, and lied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to facilitate the sale of MPC generation assets as quickly as possible. They had to ignore a dozen brakes put on them by the legislature. The document they did this with is the first one under my pic on the PSC website.

Notice that they clearly state that the federal government does not allow states to deregulate –rather, only a Commission can request the state's generation be granted (EWG status.)

MH: Is there a "rest of the story?"

Brad Molnar: I was absolutely shocked when the Repub party did not even ask if they could help. I was shocked when the Demo party refused to even discuss how to reregulate and I was shocked when my fellow Commissioners ordered our legal staff to stand with the PPL attorney (He has donated to Tussing) and defend our deregulated status.

I never asked them to help or give money. Just stay out of the way. When Raney switched to oppose the reregulation effort he publicly stated it was for "partisan political considerations" from the bench. (last entry below my pic on the PSC website).

Not a word in the press. An unbiased study of the causations, the issue, the process are a gold mine on how to have a better future and not make the same mistakes again (state and federal) but alas, the issue is better political fodder. Geez, it even happened before Tussing moved to Montana to claim the title Most Failed Chief of Police/Mayor Billings Has Ever Known...but it seems to be the only thing he knows anything about.

MH: Let’s turn to some more dirty stuff. We've had an annoying commenter who periodically shows up on MH threads that deal either with you or Ron Tussing, saying that you were convicted of felony assault and battery.

Knowing how devoted Mayor Tussing's fawning admirers are, this sort of anonymous charge will probably continue to appear on various blogs and in the comments section of the Gazette during this campaign. Would you like to enlighten MH readers regarding your past felonious activities?

Brad Molnar: I would rather talk about my future felonious activities but my compatriots would prefer that I not. Such stories will probably continue to surface in the blogosphere but not on the editorial page because they would be actionable and could not muster a defense onnaconna taint true.

Actually a felony would preclude me from serving would it not?

MH: We tried making that logical point, along with pointing out the absence of anything in the press about it in the last election cycle, but some people are logically challenged.

Brad Molnar: Yes, I've had a few scrapes but never seen a judge... plainly self defense.

Sorry, but I can't match Tussing man-handling a reporter at his announcement for mayor when he dared ask why Tussing thought he could break the $160,000 settlement agreement. Apparently Tussing claimed self defense and said he was afraid the man was armed (he had a camera and is 1/3 the size of Tussing)

He has not assaulted anyone for carrying a camera before or since. Charges dropped. Had that been me I would still be in the clink. It amazes me when they know they are vulnerable yet go forward with their cowardly attacks. They don't even care if they hurt their own candidate. Very poorly thought out. Tussing should be avoiding these issues like sumac.

MH: Enough on that – if we continue, our readers will be forced to go take a shower and won’t be able to finish reading this most engaging interview.

Let’s talk some specifics of how the PSC works. How do PSC commissioners interact with the state legislature -- do you have an advisory role in the crafting of legislation?

Brad Molnar: We often craft our own. For example the PSC crafted the legislation to increase the USB (consumer tax) on natural gas by 300%. I was the only commissioner to oppose it.

MH: Do you testify before committees?

Brad Molnar: There is at least one Commissioner present for just about any piece of legislation that concerns what we do. Often just to answer technical questions. Just as often we offer pro and con positions as determined by our votes to support or oppose various pieces legislation.

For example Mood (the other R) and I have, for the past two sessions supported legislation to mandate that the PSC put together a "lowest cost possible" energy portfolio for utility customers with the option for "green power" aficionados to pay more for their chosen color of electrons.

The three Democrat commissioners have always stood with the enviro lobby and opposed same. All of us agreed that Gov. Schweitzer’s HB3 Special Session was patently illegal. Ergo none of the D's went to testify so they could not be questioned.

MH: Most interesting – we’ll have to pay attention in the next session to see who testifies and when.

Can you give examples of laws that have passed or nearly passed in the legislature in the last couple of sessions that were injurious to Montana citizens -- ones that a Republican legislature should overturn in the coming session?

Brad Molnar: Of course the aforementioned 300% increase in USB taxes (it was made far worse in committee at the request of MDU).

HB 25 has a moratorium on new coal-fired plants and created a new 3.5% tax on energy. If we repeal the Renewable Energy Portfolio (SB 415 Schweitzer/Tester) we could save about $50M immediately and millions more per year.

MH: How about any that need to be fought and kept from passing in the next legislative session?

Brad Molnar: Have been a little preoccupied with the next couple of months to worry about the next session but I assume that everyone agrees that the people of SE Mont would be represented very differently before legislative committees if Tussing should win.

MH: Fair enough, but still, is there legislation that you as a PSC Commissioner would like to see introduced and debated in the next legislative session?

Brad Molnar: Along with Rep Everett I tried to make fraud by, or before, the Commission the same as fraud anywhere (punishable up to two years after discovery) rather than you have thirty days after a ruling to file an action.

Only the three D's on the Commission and NWE opposed it in committee. It got clobbered in Committee and twice on the floor just to get a rehearing.

Listen to the tapes. Jergeson went berserk to kill it. Totally berserk. It was amazing. My jaw dropped. It would have allowed the Commission to be held responsible for the fraud and collusion they committed (and admitted to) when they asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to deregulate Montana Power and PPL.

Dems really hate the truth on this subject. I'll bet they quote Justice Nelson on this topic when they blog. Four justices refused to sign his dissent so they naturally quote him like he actually represented someone other than himself and his loathing for my conservative politics and our many years running feud over his judicial activism.

MH: Well, that spares us from having to ask for a comment or two about the role of the judiciary.

Next up, what kind of a grade would you give the current governor when it comes to the basic pocketbook issues of utility rates?

Brad Molnar: A+ for taking credit for the efforts of others.

D-minus for what he has done to consumers and the cost causers he has planted.

When I nailed him on imploring us to help low-income ratepayers with their increasing utility bills, when he promoted every cost causer in the legislature he said, "Yes, but my concern was for the jobs it creates."

Six months building wind mills and 20 years of higher rates. Make that an "F."

Same, exactly the same, answer from his transmission guy (Tuttle) at the Colstrip meeting of the interim ETIC when he was asked by Weisman (D-Great Falls) about the impact of the Montana Idaho Intertie.

So it is definitely Schweitzer’s policy to ignore costs if he gets a good headline about jobs. He is a very bright guy so I assume he knows he is guilty. It's just that the press prefers to not ask any follow up questions. Just quote the press agent...or they might not be invited to the next wine tasting.

Same thing when Barret told legislators to resist my amendment to HB 3 (special session) that would have saved consumers $38.85M on electricity bills (That reminds me. We should try that one again.)

ZERO dems voted for it. Why doesn't Schweitzer say what he has done to lower energy bills (not counting subsidizing the poor with other people’s money)...make that F-minus.

Republicans put price caps on the renewables in SB 415 2005 in House Committee. The amendments to pull off the consumer protections were called the governor’s Amendments...mainly because they were. Hell of a floor fight. Nothing in the press.

What is lower than F-minus? Add $10,000 to the war chest against me.

MH: Let us know if there is a spike in fundraising from Helena after this interview appears.
Let’s move on to a different intra-governmental relationship. How do PSC commissioners interact with the federal government?

Brad Molnar: Constantly. Directly via meetings with FERC and FCC top personnel at NARUC meetings and teleconferences and through regional stake holder issues (BPA) and transmission issues to the east. The commissioners you must work with are "no nonsense" professionals. They Googled me before I got there and judged if I had anything to add to the issue.

If not, you will just be a placeholder and cannot represent Montana. Very judgmental and very hard working group. They wouldn't let Tussing carry the donuts.

MH: As entertaining as it is to pull a visual of Mayor Tussing fetching donuts and coffee for the big boys, let’s hope we don’t have to deal with that. How has the change to Democratic control in the U.S. Congress affected things in the last couple of years?

Brad Molnar: It appears to me that the people voted to end the war. They still have the war but got stuck with a freshman congress controlled by a bunch of enviro zealots that simply refuse to have a holistic approach to energy and the environment.

I never thought that there would be a working majority in congress that was willing to perform great violence on families in the US via their utility bills (Cap and Trade/carbon tax) (a crafty tax hidden in utility bills that we will never get rid of.). I must now concede the possibility and work to mitigate the harm.

MH: Will the outcome of the Presidential race this year affect what you do at the PSC?

Brad Molnar: Both Obama and McCain have signaled that they will sign Cap and Trade. They are both willing to sell this country down the river for a sound bite.

Maybe Sarah can get McCain to moderate but I doubt it. Before it was Warner-Lieberman it was McCain-Lieberman. Either way we are screwed and, if I am in the majority, will write rules to mitigate the damage they will do.

If not in the majority I will use the position to inform consumers....actually a pretty good weapon....which is why I am so heavily targeted.

Add another $10,000 to Tussings war chest. I'm joking -- it will be independent expenditures.

MH: We’ll look forward to getting those mailers. Let's turn back to the specifics of energy for a final question. Is it safe to assume that we are in agreement that for now, drilling for more oil, building more oil refineries, and mining and using more coal are the irreducible minimum in relieving the burdensome cost of energy?

Brad Molnar: Those that argue against more drilling are just plain goofy....but may get elected president. It's a purist environmentalist argument..."No carbon at any cost -- but confuse the issue at every turn."

MH: And would we also be in agreement that the "all of the above" approach to attacking the energy supply issue on every front is essential to meeting our energy needs in the long run?

Brad Molnar: And the short run. Look how fast Bakken turned the argument. Even Tester is taking credit for it now.

MH: Moving on from that, what alternative energy source is the most promising for Montana -- and what makes it the most promising technology?

Brad Molnar: Wind, though not as a stand-alone generation. But wind with compressed air storage (still in R&D), tied to hydro, tied to EXISTING natural gas.

As a nation we have 205,000 megawatts of natural gas baseload. We would be generations tying it to wind and the results would be astoundingly good. Building gas generation to support wind....totally political and wildly anti-consumer.

And when you say "for Montana"...the only winners are those that sell wind power. That's why people have to be forced to buy it i.e. thru renewable energy portfolios etc and that's why they are forced to pay a $16 BILLION dollar subsidy. Montana is often called the Saudi Arabia of wind (so is No Dak. So Dak. Texas etc's what people say when they think a vacuous statement will work better than facts...usually on the 6 o'clock news).

Do the Arabs have to mandate the use of oil? Do Arabs subsidize its sales to help hide the true costs? If wind is mandated why subsidize it? The least complicated to authorize is "cogeneration" on a case by case basis as long as it is not a Qualified Facility. We have plenty of affordable/reliable energy in Montana. Why we are convincing ourselves that greater investment in subsidized/unreliable energy is a winning argument is beyond me. We have not and cannot curtail one megawatt of electricity from Colstrip since we built Judith Gap with its 135MW capacity. Know why?

MH: I think that is pretty obvious, and can be summarized in one word: demand -- which is only going up.

Brad Molnar: And you would be wrong. Have a nice day.

MH: That's a cliffhanger of a note to end on. We'll have to find the real answer to that one another time, then.

Commissioner Brad Molnar, thank you again for taking the time to talk with us here at Montana Headlines. Good luck in your campaign – and while we may regret this, you can have the last word.

Brad Molnar: Luck? I'm up against a discredited cop, that became a discredited mayor, that admits he would be a know-nothing Commissioner. How tough could it be.....INCOMING!!!!

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