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Genoa Township Residents Discuss Strategy For Protesting DNR Mining Operation

October 1, 2021

By Mike Kruzman / A group of citizens concerned about their Genoa Township community have met to discuss a strategy opposing a potential gravel mine. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources owns two parcels off of Brighton Road and Cunningham Road. The DNR has expressed interest in leasing the property so that it may be mined for minerals and in the process flattened, with it eventually being turned into a seed orchard and park. About a dozen Genoa Township residents met Thursday night, to discuss how to best alert their neighbors of this operation and the negative effects that will come with it. They talked about the “very serious consequences” that the mining operation may bring, which stated that “open gravel pit mines depress property values for miles, damaged property values severely affect tax revenues, it would create widely known deadly health issues, groundwater disturbance, and traffic safety.” The potential for silica dust in the air was a repeated concern, with residents not wanting it in their or children’s lungs, and not wanting to have to live with their windows closed all the time from its threat. Joining them was Sue Kelly from the Sierra Club who shared insights on how to tactfully express their opinions to decision-makers to get a favorable response. She advised against taking an antagonistic approach to the DNR and local officials and to instead respectfully express a love for the community and how this will negatively affect it. Conferencing in by phone was geologist Mike Wilczynski, who gave his expert opinion on the situation. He said the proposed lease is for 10 years, but cautioned that sometimes these things get extended to 30, as some in attendance had earlier feared. He said the lease seems poorly conceived and that he believes they may be able to achieve the goal of stopping the lease. Wilczynski said the lease will allow for mining within 3 feet of the water table. The water there, however, is contaminated with chloride, with Wilczynski cautioning that mining so close to it could cause the plume to move, which could affect more people. Residents are also displeased with the way the land has been left after a logging operation recently took place and left the area devastated. Still, the residents preferred it to be left as it is as opposed to a mine. The DNR is holding a public information meeting on October 12th at the performing arts auditorium at Brighton High School from 6 to 8pm. The Genoa Township group is inviting people to come out and respectfully let the DNR know that this proposed project is harmful to the community.

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