Sierra Club: Belmar Mayor Doesn't Get Importance of Sustainable Boardwalk Woods

Environmental group responds to Doherty's recent comments

Last week Belmar chose to forgo the use of Ipe for their boardwalk with Mayor Matt Doherty of Belmar being quoted stating: “It’s not an environmental reason that we’re not using Ipe, it was because we didn’t want to get tied up in court.”

Jeff Tittel, Direct of the New Jersey Sierra Club issued the following response to the Mayor's quote:

“The Mayor Doherty of Belmar doesn’t get it. If he actually cared about the environment and protecting his town from future storms or storm surges than he would have used recycle plastics and sustainable woods in the first place. It is not about whether or not he is going to get sued it is about what is right for Belmar and for our coast. Hundreds of people emailed the Mayor with concerns over the use of Ipe showing the Mayor is wrong and short sighted. There is no way to sustainably harvested Ipe. Anybody who says they can sustainable harvest Ipe is lying. When they clear cut the soil erodes and when they try to replant the trees they all die.  It ends up becoming grazing land or sugar cane adding to global warming and sea level rise. The Mayor has also failed to mention that they want to use public money to rebuild and public money should not be used to cut down the rain forest adding to climate change and sea level rise.”


“Belmar has also decided to move ahead with a sea wall instead of constructed dunes to protect its community. Seawalls provide a false sense of security creating more beach erosion and do not actually protect people from storm surges. We have found one of the lessons from Hurricane Sandy is that natural systems like vegetative dunes and coastal marshes work much better protecting people and property than manmade, which are better for the environment. Sea walls create more beach erosion and raise the level of the stormwater creating more flooding as the water goes around the wall potentially in Lake Como and areas around the Shark River.  Dunes provide habitat and better stabilize the shore.  The areas that had dunes with high vegetation were practically untouched during the storm. Belmar can even put in dunes, raise the boardwalk, and have parking underneath. There are many options to make Belmar’s boardwalk sustainable and practical while protecting the town from storm surges.”


 “All the people who are environmentally conscious may want to know that he does not care about the environment. We reached out to help and first he ignored us regarding alternatives. Even when he changed his mind it is not for the right reasons. In the court of public opinion he is a loser. The people of Belmar who are concerned about the environment have been insulted by their own Mayor.  Is he going to replace the electric vehicles that the meter maids use now with SUVs?  If this is really what he thinks about the environment people who are environmentally conscious may choose to go to Bradley beach a town that cares about the environment rather than Belmar. People like Mayors have choices.”

Eco Friendly Woodworker January 21, 2013 at 07:48 PM
Look at the MSDS (manufacturer’s safety data sheets) on these composites that you’re in love with. Many use only 20 percent recycled plastic, as they list on the data sheet a wide range of percentage of varying recycled content. Many dangerous chemicals are used in the production of composite decking, in the recycling process, and as additives to the decking as fungicides and UV protectants. Much of the little bit of recycled plastic that is put in the product is shipped all the way from garbage dumps in Spain and Nicaragua, thus negating your carbon footprint shipping claims. As for your false claim that Trex lasts longer than Ipe, tell that to the thousands of people involved in class action lawsuits against composite companies because their plastic decks grew dangerous mold, fungus, and had product delamination. There are many sustainable programs for the selective harvesting of Ipe and other tropical woods including the FSC program. Forest engineers select old trees that no longer produce seeds and are removed at a rate of two to three trees in an area the size of a soccer field. This lets in light for smaller seed bearing trees to grow, thus allowing for a healthier forest. Plastic is made from oil. Big oil companies back the plastic lobby groups and now it sounds like maybe they back yours too. They do this quietly through a string of companies all owned and supported quietly by big oil. Thank you, An Eco Friendly Woodworker...just like Jesus
Eco Friendly Woodworker January 21, 2013 at 07:50 PM
(continued) Get your facts straight, and by the way stop pushing Ash wood because, like Beech, wood there is an insect infesting much if it at epidemic levels. Oh, and take a trip to South American forest management project so that you can at least comprehend the lies you are propagating. I know you won't excite as much emotion or encourage as much donations when you tell the truth, but you will then at least actually be helping the environment. Now to do some digging in your books and give big oil their money back. It may take you a bit to uncover the names of the companies they own, but now that you decided to stop propagating lies you have a bit of time on your hands. Thank you, An Eco Friendly Woodworker...just like Jesus
Shannon Rogers January 22, 2013 at 02:24 PM
Statements like this from The Sierra Club are frustrating because they are just so false. The lumber industry globally comprised less than 2% of the deforestation issue. Cattle ranchers DO clear cut and DO comprise over 70% of deforestation. In fact by not buying tropical woods, the land becomes worthless and the only way the owner (government or not) can make good on the investment is to sell it for ranching at which point it gets clear cut. If you want to do something good for the environment then you need to buy tropical hardwoods. Keep the market healthy so that companies will continue to invest in sustainable forestry. At least Belmar can not worry about the sand dune issue for much longer because all that plastic decking will make a nice breakwater once the next hurricane washes it out to sea. The gulf of Belmar will make for nice placid waters without a single wave.
Shannon Rogers January 22, 2013 at 02:36 PM
Here is some more on how not using tropical woods is worse for the forests than banning their use http://www.mcilvain.com/lumber-importing-myths/
CPOTom February 26, 2013 at 02:12 AM
These same people will be vomiting on the boardwalk in August.


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