By Frank Stickney and photos by Kate Reali
In Their Own Words is a special section in Portico Eastern Shore Magazine that highlights profiles of local residents. Each season, we get to know some of the people that contribute to our beautiful and unique community, and we tell their stories here.
Here, we are featuring Sam Wilkes, Mobile Baykeeper’s Young Advisory Council Member and area lawyer. Here’s what he has to say about his work:
“The Young Advisory Council (YAC) consists of young local professionals who volunteer their time and plan social outreach events. We get detailed briefings on current issues and contribute ideas for strategic development. Our highest current priority is Plant Barry, where more than 21 million tons of coal ash sit in a 600-acre unlined pit, allowing toxic chemicals to contaminate groundwater and the Mobile River. One large storm could cause toxic chemicals to breach the earthen dam, shutting down Mobile Bay and decimating the delicate ecosystem. We believe it’s important for area residents to understand that Baykeeper is not anti-business/development but simply a group of locals sharing a common interest in smart growth. Like many others, my wife and I moved here because of the water. The health of our bay directly affects the local economy, the real estate values, and a host of recreational activities. Preserving this resource is not a political issue, but a matter of protecting our home and way of life.”