Voices from the Gulf Speak at Repower Maine News Conference; Held at GMRI

By Carol McCracken (Post # 522)

Small business owners and a mental health professional affected by the BP oil spill in the Gulf joined together late this morning to tell their stories – stories of businesses gone and emotional heartbreak for many who live and work in the Gulf area. The event was hosted by Repower Maine and was held indoors at the Gulf of Maine Institute, Commercial Street late this morning. State Senator Justin Alfond facilitated.

Ann Costello, owner of a small marine-related business in Pensacola, Florida, told the crowd: “You are very similar to us. You love the water. Please do not listen to the ads. We are not okay; nothing has been fixed.” She implored listeners to think of the infrastructure that was necessary to make cars feasible today. The oil companies have not done that for oil exploration, Costello concluded. (See above photo.)

Aimee Dominique, a licensed clinical social worker, said the BP oil spill has not affected her financially. “But my heart has been hurt,” she said. She said she’s “tired of politicans and there are too many lobbyists.” Doninique lives in Lafayette, LA., about three hours from the Gulf coast. She is reaching out to other states and was leaving for Virginia shortly following the news conference.

Hugh Cowperthwaite, Coastal Enterprise Inc., asked the audience to try and imagine how it would be in Portland if we were faced with the same problem. “What would happen to our image as “vacationland?” “How could we restore the confidence of the public about the safety of our lobster supply?”

The event ended with a luncheon sponsored by Repower Maine at the Chowder House on Commercial Street.