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Midpoint Check-In Behind Us, Public Meetings Ahead

Some 300 folks spent four hours at the Battle House Hotel in Downtown Mobile on October 26 updating one another on progress towards the Coastal Recovery Commission’s Dec. 15 report. Here’s the video produced to mark this stage in the CRC process:

The big news out of the session was the announcement that the CRC will be requesting that Gov. Bob Riley sign an executive order creating an Alabama Gulf Fisheries Marketing and Promotion Board. This new group will help forge the links between research that affirms the safety of Gulf of Mexico seafood and marketing efforts to assure consumers of Gulf seafood quality and safety.

“This is something that just could not wait until our final report,” said CRC chair Ricky Mathews. Read the Mobile Press-Register’s account of the meeting and the announcement of the new board concept here.

The Oct. 26 event was the second full CRC meeting since the group launched on September 28. Next up are public meetings, November 8, 9, and 10 in Orange Beach, Bayou La Batre, and Spanish Fort. For times and places, see the schedule under our WHEN & WHERE tab.

After the full group introductory program on Oct. 26, attendees divided into committee break-out sessions to review notes from committee and subcommittee meetings over the last month. Those notes will be revised and organized over the next week for the public meetings and then shaped into outlines upon which report writers will base their work between now and Dec. 15, when the finished report will be presented to Gov. Riley and the new governor elect.

For a look at the notes CRC meeting attendees reviewed, go here. Please remember, however, that these are notes reflecting a work in progress. Subsequent committee and subcommittee meetings will likely reshape ideas and proposals significantly.

To get up to speed on the mission and goals of the Coastal Recovery Commission of Alabama, read the overview column to the immediate right and check out the FAQ section under the WHAT & WHY tab in the toolbar above.

If you have comments or questions, please use the space below to give us some feedback. Or contact the committees or staffers directly by going to the CONTACT US tab on the toolbar above.

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Down to Business: CRC Committees Dig into Data

Within a day or two after the launch of the Coastal Recovery Commission (CRC), the Commission’s three broad committees addressing a Healthy Environment, a Healthy Society, a Healthy Economy were already breaking down into sub-committees and setting meeting places and times.

As the groups add meetings, we’ll post them under WHEN & WHERE on the toolbar above. The meetings are open to the public and are intended to help to identify impacts of the oil spill, then to begin addressing potential long-term solutions.

One important gathering already scheduled is the Auburn University-sponsored Road to Restoration conference, Oct. 5-6, in Orange Beach. Check under WHEN & WHERE for more info.

Sandy Stimpson and Dr. Conrad Pierce, who head the Healthy Society committee, have come up with the two questions they’re asking their sub-committees to address. Modified for application to any of the topics, the immediate tasks are:

  • Identify the impact of the BP oil spill on ____________.  Outline the negative vulnerabilities that have become known.
  • Propose bold but attainable goals that would be a roadmap toward making our community more resilient in the area of ____________ to both man-made and natural disasters.

Guided by those two approaches, the sub-committees will then have the base knowledge to ask the next key questions:

  • What’s missing from our data? What else do we need, who else do we need to include, to get an authoritative picture of where we are now?
  • Given what we know about where we are now and where we want to go to make our region more resilient to challenges in the future, how do we get there?

Answers to that last question will be in the form of recommendations in the CRC’s final report on Dec. 15.

Keep following our posts here to see how the committees and sub-committees are advancing toward answering these important questions. And check out the times and places for meetings under the WHEN & WHERE tab for oppotunities to participate.

Also: Don’t forget that we’re inviting suggestions and questions – either general ones or ones aimed at our specific subject areas – in the space below. Let us hear from you.


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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.







  • 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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