- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2016

METAMORA, Mich. (AP) - Residents of a small community in eastern Michigan who oppose a proposed square-mile gravel mine have an unlikely opponent: the Boy Scouts.

The Boy Scouts’ Michigan Crossroads Council, along with American Aggregates of Michigan, applied in November for a zoning change that would allow mining at a scout camp located a mile from the village of Metamora in southern Lapeer County, The Detroit News (http://detne.ws/1PQvMa7 ) reported. The Metamora Township Board of Trustees imposed a four-month moratorium on new mines in December so it could study the issue.

For the past 31 years, the Boy Scouts have been pushing for the project and working with different companies to bring it to fruition. This is the group’s third attempt at persuading the township to approve a mine.

The scouts have said the money it receives for gravel extracted from the mine would help maintain the camp for years to come.

In the earlier attempts, local officials accused the Boy Scouts of hiding its intention to build a mine and trying to “bribe” the township with land.

“Scouting teaches us to be a good neighbor. This isn’t being a good neighbor,” said resident Simon Andzelewski, a former Eagle Scout who began a Facebook page against the project. “They’re acting like a big business.”

The current proposal calls for the extraction of 30 million tons of sand and gravel from the 497-acre mine over 30 years.

Many residents and most local businesses are concerned that the mine would bring 100 double-bottom dump trucks through the village each day. They’re also worried about noise and dust from the mining operation, as well as the impact on property values.

“We’re in the fight of our lives,” resident Linda Egeland said. “Metamora will become a place not to live, a place not to visit.”

Some argue that the Boy Scouts, whose Outdoor Code calls for members to be conservation-minded and considerate in the outdoors, are shirking their role as caretakers of the environment. But the Boy Scouts and American Aggregates claim the residents’ fears are exaggerated.

They’ve compiled 1,200 pages of studies in an effort to show the project meets state and federal requirements meant to protect the environment, Boy Scouts spokesman Chuck Truza said.

“It won’t be left a big hole,” he said. “We plan to be there a long time.”

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Information from: The Detroit News, http://detnews.com/

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