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K-State sociologists use Department of Energy grant
Date:10/25/2007

aspect the researchers will study is whether new populations are moving to these communities because of ethanol-related jobs and how this affects the community. They will examine the attitudes that ethanol plant workers and farmers have about the opportunities that ethanol plants present. The researchers also are curious about how much local communities are investing to bring ethanol plants to their towns and how benefits from ethanol plants differ depending on whether they are owned locally or nonlocally.

"We believe that local ownership would bring more benefit," Selfa said.

The researchers want to see how the scale of the plant affects the community economically and socially. For instance, Selfa said they want to examine whether smaller plants distribute their benefits -- and costs -- among communities in a way that large, centralized plants don't.

Another aspect of the research will look at how communities and government officials balance the need for economic growth and jobs with the reality of declining water availability, especially in places like western Kansas.

"How do they balance water demands between agricultural crops for food versus for fuel and then for household, municipal and industrial uses?" Selfa said.

She said the researchers plan to use what they learn to inform policymakers and rural communities about the possible benefits and limitations of bioenergy development.


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Contact: Theresa Selfa
tselfa@k-state.edu
785-532-4970
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

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