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Leadership Council Debuts with Expert USA Panel

Apr 13, 2011

After billions of dollars invested in oil spill research and recovery operations, what do we know now that we didn’t know in the summer and fall of 2010? What do we have yet to discover? And what does it all mean for Alabama’s coastal environment and the health of families and businesses?

Today, Wednesday the 13th, at the Battle House Hotel in downtown Mobile, expert researchers from the University of South Alabama (USA) will discuss those issues and more. The event is co-sponsored by the University of South Alabama and the newly formed Coastal Alabama Leadership Council in anticipation of the April 20 anniversary of the spill. The event will be webcast live, beginning at 10am Central time, 11am Eastern.

Watch the panel discussion and Q&A live by going here, then following the instructions below. The feed is free, but it requires a sign-in.

Once you click on the link and get to the landing page:
1. Go to the upper right hand corner and click on “Create New Account”
2. Fill out the brief information boxes and click “Register”
3. Go to the upper right hand corner and click “Login”. Enter Login and Password.

The panel discussion is the lead-off event in a series of programs and initiatives planned by the Coastal Alabama Leadership Council (CALC), which is the permanent body created to facilitate implementation of the report (6.8mb .pdf) of the Coastal Recovery Commission (CRC) of Alabama. The column to the immediate right explains how the CRC came to be. And the process that led to the report and the formation of the Leadership Council is reported in the posts preceding this one and in the videos in the far right column.

The Leadership Council is a regional non-profit organization made up of business CEOs and non-profit leaders. Government officials are ex-officio members. The CALC’s goal is to help coordinate the efforts of existing organizations and to launch new initiatives that encourage regional strategies for building a healthier and more prosperous region for families and businesses.

It’s important, said CRC and CALC chairman Ricky Mathews, that the first event of the new Council reflects its association with the University of South Alabama. “The University was a crucial partner in the CRC’s work in 2010, and we need its expertise even more in the Leadership Council,” said Mathews.

Gordon Moulton, president of the University of South Alabama, said continuing collaboration fits with USA’s mission to “connect our researchers’ work directly to issues that affect our region.”

Return here often to see the latest news of CALC activities.

Share Your Own Thoughts and Ideas

We invite questions and suggestions about our process and goals. The online rules are the same as they'd be if we were meeting in person. We'll respect one another and keep on topic. And we'll work together to shape strategies that will make for a better, safer, more resilient South Alabama.

If you have comments or research suggestions you want to direct to one of our committees, you can also send email directly to the appropriate group by going to PARTICIPATE in the toolbar above and using one of the topic-specific email addresses.


  • 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.







  • PROCESS VIDEOS
    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:
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