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Next Up: Oct. 26 Check-In,
Work-in-Progress Ready for Review

Oct 24, 2010

Dozens of committee and subcommittee meetings have produced plenty of ideas and proposals intended to strengthen Coastal Alabama’s capacity to bounce back from catastrophes like the recent oil spill. Now comes the sorting.

What concepts deserve to be integrated into final strategies? And by what standards should they be prioritized?

Those are key questions for the next phase of the Coastal Recovery Commission process. That stage begins at Tuesday, October 26, when the full CRC holds its second meeting, 1 to 5 p.m. at the Battle House Hotel.

CRC chair Ricky Mathews will remind attendees of the Commission’s key goals and open the conversation about aligning those goals with ideas emerging from the smaller group sessions. Three big concerns have already risen to the top: The need to cultivate a regional perspective, the need to make coastal insurance more affordable, and the need to “heal the Gulf brand” undermined by misperceptions about seafood safety.

Getting to work on the perception problem “can’t wait until December 15,” when the CRC’s report is due, says Mathews. “We have to start now.” So expect an announcement related to that effort.

The seafood industry is getting help from marine scientists who are experts on the conditions in the Gulf that affect fish, oysters, and shrimp. George Crozier, executive director of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and a member of the CRC, has been eloquent in his explanations of the problem. Here’s what he wrote in an Oct. 17 “Insight” piece in the Mobile Press-Register:

George Crozier

“As someone who has spent a career studying Gulf of Mexico ecosystems, I am optimistic that — so far, at least — changes to those systems as a result of the spill may be perceptible only to marine scientists probing the details.

“Unfortunately, the human component of the Gulf’s ecosystem does not appear to be showing the same degree of resilience. And it is that set of effects — the toll on the everyday lives of humans and on the regional economy — that we should be most concerned about at the moment.”

Walter Bell, the former Alabama Insurance Commissioner and now a leading international insurance industry executive, followed Crozier’s “Insight” op ed with his own on Oct. 24. Bell, speaking about the persistent coastal insurance dilemma, explains how we might learn a strategic lesson from the risk management approach common not only in insurance but in most businesses challenged by exposure to uncertainty.

On Tuesday, CRC members will review the committees’ and subcommittees’ work-in-progress as organized by the writers charged with producing the final report. Outlines of the ideas and proposals will be literally “pinned up” on boards for members to see. Gaps will be obvious. The same for redundancies and misdirections. Then, the way forward will come into sharper focus.

Next, after the Oct. 26 meeting, comes a series of three public meetings on Nov. 8, 9, and 10 in Baldwin and Mobile Counties. Times and places will be announced soon. So keep checking back here.

3 Responses to “Next Up: Oct. 26 Check-In,
Work-in-Progress Ready for Review”

  1. For people who would like to attend the meeting but can’t, we will be streaming the meeting live at starting at 1pm.

  2. Please be advised that Romar Beach Baptist Church, Orange Beach,
    Al. has commitments from over 100 of the nations best know gospel
    singer who will come to do benefit concerts for the Gulf Coast
    Disaster Relief Fund. We currently have 14 concerts scheduled, and
    will be adding more. Most will be held in the Conference Center at
    the Wharf. Our goal is to do these concerts on Friday and Saturday
    nights and promote them to out of town folks to come spend the
    weekend, stay in our condos, eat in our restraunts, shop in our
    stores, and hear great gospel music. Concerts will run from December through April. Please contact me if you have any questions.

    Paul L. Smith, Pastor
    Romar Beach Baptist Church

  3. Marion Laney says:

    Along with representatives from fishing, attractions, legislators, Realtor’s, mayor’s, industry, environment and small business from Mobile and South-Alabama (including Bayou La Batre and Dauphin Island) I have been attending the Tourism and Seafood Safety sub-committees held by CRC-Alabama.

    In general terms these have been the bright spot in a long dark summer. I have seen many folks talking, cooperating and reaching out to perceived competitors to bring our region back together. This process has been extremely gratifying and downright productive. These round table discussions have identified many systemic weaknesses and hidden opportunities to tie our coastal region more tightly together as it seeks sustainable / resilient tourism and smart commercial growth.

    We are a diverse coastline and this is our strength and not our weakness.

    The recap meeting in Mobile was a great opportunity to see all the diverse ideas presented in one place. There were some regional biases but I feel sure the full committee will be able to bring back a more balanced approach to the recommendations being prepared for the Governor.

    I certainly urge an immediate executive order forming the Seafood Marketing Association funded by tariffs on imported seafood as Wild Alaska Salmon uses as its model. Our seafood from the Gulf is many times more tasty and safer than many of the regions where the imports now originate. This is not protectionism but common sense and supporting of our indigenous coastal lifestyle.

    Marion Laney | Board member
    West Bay and Gulf Coast
    Tourism Development Council, inc

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  • Headline

    A once-in-a generation opportunity is upon us. A transformational moment in Alabama history.

    That’s how Gov. Bob Riley described hopes for the Coastal Recovery Commission (CRC) of Alabama, created by his executive order on September 27, 2010.

    The CRC’s mission: To shape, in the wake of BP’s Deep Water Horizon oil spill, “a roadmap to resilience” for South Alabama.

    “We must do everything we can to restore what’s been lost because of this disaster,” said Gov. Riley. “But we should also use this moment to strengthen the resilience of our state and coastal communities. The commission will recommend ways that improve our ability to respond to future challenges and examine strategies that will mean far less suffering the next time a catastrophe threatens us.”

    The CRC’s work is funded entirely with BP money already contributed to the state. No tax dollars will be used. What’s more, Gov. Riley took pains to insulate the Commission as much as possible from politics as usual. Since he leaves office in January, he’s acutely aware that the recommendations of the Commission will be in another governor’s hands. So he’s reached out to the political camps of both men vying to replace him, inviting them to appoint their own representatives to the Commission to participate in shaping a report that should inspire the new governor no matter who wins in the November elections.

    What’s more, Gov. Riley is asking local elected officials to give the Commission a little room to work. “We’ll bring politicians in,” said the governor. “But this will be a citizen-led – not a politician-led – effort. If we do that, I promise you it will be successful.”

    The CRC is made up of citizen leaders with broad ranges of experience in civic life in Alabama’s coastal region. It’s headed by Mobile Press-Register publisher Ricky Mathews, who brings to this effort the experience of a similar commission in the post-Hurricane Katrina environment of coastal Mississippi. For a complete list of CRC members, go here.

    “What we learned after Katrina on the Mississippi Coast,” said Mathews, “is that a crisis of even enormous proportions provides opportunities to re-imagine a whole region.

    “If we do our work on this commission right,” Mathews said, “we can position South Alabama for not only bouncing back more effectively from future catastrophes like oil spills and hurricanes but also for providing greater security and more opportunity for all of our citizens, even when there are no emergencies. That’s the essence of resiliency.”

    Forging consensus on what the oil spill’s impacts were and how to make the coast safer for citizens and visitors and more secure for long-term investment is tough enough. Implementing the Commission’s recommendations next year and in the years after will be harder – if the Commission is not able to begin building coalitions of support during this process. “If we’re to make the most of this opportunity,” said Mathews, “we have to begin thinking bigger and broader than we ever have.

    “Oil spills and hurricanes don’t just threaten isolated spots on a map,” said Mathews. “Their effects reverberate through an entire state, through a region even. So our chances for coping with future threats depend upon us building a regional vision, an awareness of how we’re connected with one another and how we can work with one another to do more than any of us as individual citizens or individual communities ever imagined.”

    This is a project on a fast track. At some point – no one knows exactly when – there is the potential for billions of dollars to flow to the coastal states from BP and from other energy-related sources. To assure that Alabama is positioned to make the most of this potential investment, “we need a plan,” said Gov. Riley. And it has to come quickly.

    So the Commission is committed to delivering its report by Dec. 15, initially as a downloadable pdf from this website. Printed books will be available soon thereafter.

    The Commission is organizing its work under three broad topics, each connected with the other and each representing a key component of regional adaptability and sustainability:

    A Healthy Environment
    A Healthy Society
    A Healthy Economy

    Commission members are assigned to each of the topics and will break the broader categories into sub-committees as they see fit. We’ll report on the activities of those committees and sub-committees on this website regularly.

    This is a very public process. Participation of regional experts, elected and appointed officials from all the towns and counties affected by the oil spill, regional business folks, and residents will have plenty of opportunities to review CRC work in progress and contribute their ideas and comments. They’ll be able to do that in person at community meetings, by mail or phone, and online via this website.

    Here’s how to make the best use of this site:

    If you want to know who’s on the Commission and who’s staffing it, click on the WHO tab in the toolbar above.

    If you want to understand the CRC’s mission, get answers to frequently asked questions, and see background data committees are gathering, click on the WHAT & WHY tab.

    If you want to know the schedule of public events and locations for meetings, click on the WHEN & WHERE tab.

    If you want to contact us directly, you’ll find information under CONTACT US, and at the bottom of each news post in the column to the left, is space for comments and questions.

    If you want to read or see what others are saying about the CRC effort, we’ll post links and documens under IN THE NEWS.

    This is going to move fast. So keep in touch. We need your participation.

    To see how the CRC based its work on the experiences of those most affected by the oil spill, click this video below:
    Click this video to watch our mid-course update:
    Click this video to explore the CRC's goals and principles:

    September 2018
    S M T W T F S