As more and more energy sources are discovered or industries related to energy generation are located in rural areas of the nation, there is impact on the local communities and potential for good and bad situations to arise.

It seemed interesting to see that the South Dakota State University Extension Service announced it is hosting the “Community Impacts of Energy Development Conference” to address the impact on communities from boom and bust energy sourcing such as uranium, oil and gas energy development.  The conference will be held on Feb. 11, 2015, in Belle Fourche at the Belle Fourche Community Center. 

The conference subject matter is the result of SDSU Extension Community Development team planning, and it will feature a variety of topics related to energy sourcing in rural areas that impact rural residents and communities. These topics include: positive and negative impacts of energy development, resources available to assist communities impacted, the pitfalls and how to overcome them and how to work with the industry.

Sessions will be relevant for community leaders, government officials, nonprofit organizations and other stakeholders living in energy development regions.

It would seem that such a conference would be helpful to more than South Dakota residents considering the established corn ethanol businesses, the cellulosic ethanol production being developed and wind energy expansion across the Midwest and High Plains.    

A panel of public and private speakers will discuss how their communities have benefited from economic development opportunities associated with the boom part of energy development. Speakers from North Dakota and Wyoming energy development communities will share their experiences of both the positive and negative impacts of uranium, oil, and gas development.

One positive is similar to communities that have gained from the establishment of gambling casinos in many “rural” states. It is noted that community leaders can discover ways to fund community projects based on energy development.

The registration fee for the Boom/Bust Community Impacts of Energy Development Conference is $59, prior to Jan. 30, 2015. After Jan. 30 registration will be $69. Space is limited. To register, visit http://igrow.org, and click on Community Development. 

For more information, contact Paul Thares at the SDSU Extension Regional Center in Lemmon at 605-374-4177 or email him at paul.thares@sdstate.edu