Mike Mickelson, Cordova, Alaska, Born 1984

I think one of the biggest problems that happened in coping with it is that no one really talked about it, no one dealt with it.  I think the big thing about growing up in Cordova during that time was that people were so negative about what was happening and it was all Exxon’s fault. I’m not saying that it wasn’t, but I think there is hope.  But, as a young person, I wasn’t really encouraged to think that there would be a brighter future or to think that Exxon ever would pay off or that there would ever be any sort of closure.

I mean, even now it’s hard to look back at it and try to remove myself from it because it was such a big change here. You know, my mom said she got over it when her mom died but she never got over the Oil Spill.  When people talk about the Oil Spill, my blood pressure rises and I wasn’t even really conscious of what was happening and that was a long time ago.  So, I think for things that would have been helpful, I guess was to just deal with it.  It’s almost like having someone or some family of people you know die, and there was just no conflict resolution.  And so, I guess probably counseling would have been a great idea for the whole town.  It does take a long time.  We’re by no means 100% recovered from the Oil Spill. 

Mike's Full Interview