Montana Judge Releases Stay on Mountain Water Case, Three-Way Fight Over Jurisdiction
A three-way fight over jurisdiction in the sale of Mountain Water Company is now one step closer to resolution.
The Montana Public Service Commission asked District Court Judge Leslie Halligan to lift a temporary stay that had been put on the sale of Missoula’s Mountain Water Company to Liberty Utilities and according to PSC spokesman Eric Sell, the stay was lifted today, January 12.
"So Judge Halligan issued an order today, granting the PSC's request to partially lift the temporary stay that she placed on the proceedings back in December. This allows us to solicit comments from the parties regarding the jurisdictional questions that have been raised, then, following that, we will decide how to proceed with the situation."
All three of the main players in this debacle have a different interpretation on who has jurisdictional oversight and, on this issue, both Liberty Utilities and the city of Missoula appear to be in agreement that the PSC does not have jurisdiction.
"The city's argument is because they claim they have ownership, which we believe they don't, because they haven't written a check for the water system yet. Liberty is arguing that, as they are buying Park Water, which includes Mountain Water Company, that that takes it out of the PSC's jurisdiction, as well, but we also object to that argument."
Sell says that now that the judge has lifted the stay, which has been in place since December, the PSC will be able to look at the official jurisdictional arguments from both the city of Missoula and Liberty Utilities.