Environmentalists are trying to dissuade a Jersey shore town from using tropical rain forest wood to rebuild a boardwalk destroyed by Superstorm Sandy.

Belmar boardwalk after Sandy (YouTube)

Belmar awarded a $6.6 million contract this week to a company to provide ipewood for the project.

Plans to resume use of that species of tropical hardwood on the Ocean City boardwalk in 2007 touched off a furor that led to the city canceling its order and paying nearly $1 million in damages to a lumber company.

Mayor Matthew Doherty says Belmar will only use ipe if it is harvested from a sustainable source. But environmentalists say there is no such thing as sustainable logging in the Amazon or other endangered rain forests.

Belmar hopes to have a new boardwalk in place by May 1.


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