Mormons vs. Environmentalists in Mountains

Mormons in the tiny Southern California mountain town of Running Springs (search) have been trying for seven years to build a new church, but environmentalists keep putting up roadblocks.

The 12,000-square-foot church would be located in a remote area of the San Bernardino Mountains (search) right near Lake Arrowhead (search).

Environmentalists worry it will ruin the scenic views of the area and encourage future growth, possibly threatening the natural habitat of endangered species such as the California spotted owl and the southern rubber boa.

Mormon leaders say they've addressed all that.

"I feel absolutely sure that we will have a beautiful chapel here for the entire community and for our environmentalist friends to come worship with us too," said Mike Scullin, a Mormon and former president of the Running Springs Chamber of Commerce (search).

Bob Reed, vice president of Save Our Forest Assn. (search), opposes the church's plans.

"The problem with the project is not so much the church," said Reed. "It's the county of San Bernardino and the planning division — the fact is that they are not requiring an environmental impact report for this particular project."

The church said it's already completed 29 different mitigation measures, including hiring a biologist to monitor the project. Its members say they're willing to do whatever it takes to build their church.

Click in the video box above for a full report by FOX News' Anita Vogel.