Environmentalists, city clash over boardwalk

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According to the city, a five-block section of the boardwalk, between Riverside and Laurelton boulevards, is on schedule to be completed by July 23, meeting a 100-day milestone agreement with the contractor. The entire project is expected to be completed in November.

Keating said that he was out of the country for four months, and only recently became aware of the materials the city decided to use.

“We held large-scale public input meetings and focus groups, we had surveys and there was ample time for Long Beach residents to ask questions and voice any concerns,” said city spokesman Gordon Tepper. “This has been an open process for many months, and there has been no concern from Long Beach residents regarding the use of tropical hardwood. Only seven months later does someone from another area get up and speak at good and welfare.”

Keating said that Rainforest Relief, which is based in New York City, is considering suing the city and filing an injunction to stop workers from laying down any more boards. He wants the city to return the boards it has already purchased and choose a different material that is equally sturdy, but less environmentally damaging, like recycled plastic or domestic wood.

Klein insisted that the organization has no viable claim against the city, because it is operating within the parameters of the ordinance. He added that because the ordinance was established by city, the council is within its rights to rescind the law at any time.

“It’s not like there’s some mandate on the city,” Klein said. “This is its own self-restriction that the city placed upon itself. If the city decided that it wanted to [use] any sort of wood it wants, that’s the city’s ability. Times have changed since 2001, and the city could in fact decide to use any wood it wants. This guy has really no argument.”

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