Confidence turns to frustration for Maine boom company

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June 3, 2010, 5:59 pm
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(NECN: Marnie MacLean, Auburn, Maine) - BP may be having little luck in stopping the oil spill in the gulf, but that isn't stopping thousands of people from offering their own suggestions on ways to plug the leak and clean-up the oil.
A company in Maine says it has built a better oil boom to protect the Gulf coast shoreline.

John Lapointe has bet big on booms.  As President of Packgen in Auburn, Maine his company has manufactured hazardous material packaging for 30 years.

When the oil started spilling into the Gulf his engineers came to him and said they're going to need a lot of oil boom down there.

John Lapointe: "When you pull a whole team together and work in a unified way amazing what you can get accomplished"

They added two shifts, thirty employees, and by day four of production had 40 thousand feet of boom coming off the line....

Far more they believe than anyone else currently making boom.
It was a huge financial risk--Packgen knew the only way to recover costs was to get BP to buy the boom.

Two weeks ago BP sent a quality control person to Maine, looked at the factory and was impressed by what he saw. Packgen was feeling confident.

That confidence has now turned to frustration. Packgen says BP controls who the boom suppliers are going to be--and they have yet to approve Packgen's design.
John: "We're going to allow BP who caused the problem to monitor and determine who gets
the money and how that money is spent and how the land is going to be protected?"

John Lapointe says the government stepped in to take over the car industry,
and the banks, and he believes it should be taking over this situation too.

Two Packgen engineers went to the gulf recently to see for themselves what was happening--they say they  saw booms that were sinking and contractors begging for boom--but they won't buy anything that isn't BP approved.
Meanwhile, they have slowed production---started storing boom in a warehouse, and now wait for BP to say yay or nay.
As a businessman John Lapointe says he saw this as a way to make money, and help the gulf he's not sure he'll be able to do either one.

Tags: maine, Marnie MacLean, BP, gulf oil crisis, Packgen, booms
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