Last Friday, April 29, the Montana Public Service Commission authorized L&L Site Services to begin their waste hauling services in Missoula, directly competing with Republic Services.

KGVO spoke with Montana Public Service Commissioner Jennifer Fielder who shared the story of how L&L won the right to haul garbage in Missoula.

“Republic Services has been the sole provider of commercial garbage hauling services in the Missoula County market for many, many years,” began Commissioner Fielder. “L&L Site Services is a company based in Bozeman, who wanted to expand into the Missoula County market, and state law requires that they would have to obtain a license from the Public Service Commission in order to expand into a new market.”

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Fielder provided more background on the story.

“There are a lot of factors and evidence that had to be considered in whether or not that we can lawfully grant the license, so that's why the process took so long,” she said. “There were over 1,000 pages of documentation in the application and the hearing materials, so there was a lot of material. It was an important case. These are fairly big businesses and the customers there rely on these types of businesses to haul trash for them, so it's pretty important to the Missoula area and we took the case very seriously.”

Hearings were held in Missoula in October, 2021, but the final order wasn’t released until just last week.

“The final order of the commission was issued on April 29, so just last Friday,” she said. “The protesting company, Republic Services, has 14 days to appeal that decision. So they may appeal it back to the commission and then we will have to take it up again, consider the content of their appeal and make another determination if they decide to appeal. Otherwise, the license stands and L&L is authorized to begin operating in Missoula County.”

Fielder said several years ago, L&L Site Services also applied to serve Gallatin County’s waste hauling needs, which is where the company got its start, ironically competing against Republic Services in Bozeman.

“A similar situation did happen in Gallatin County recently because Republic Services was operating there, and this is where L&L Site Services actually started up,” she said. “So L&L was able to secure a license to operate in Gallatin County and come in and provide another option for the customers in that county and market competition and both companies have been able to thrive in that market. So that was a key factor in our determination.”

L&L Site Services already operates a recycling business in Missoula.

KGVO News reached out for comments from both Republic Services and L&L Site Services, but did not receive a call back.

Click below for the full conversation with Public Service Commissioner Jennifer Fielder.

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