COLUMBIA — Community members questioned energy representatives at a forum Wednesday, asking about the real benefits of ethanol and voicing concerns about fair trade for rural farmers.
ConocoPhillips hosted two events, a symposium and the community forum, to address rising concerns about energy efficiency.
At the evening forum, held at the Holiday Inn Select Executive Center, about 300 people showed up to ask questions and find out more about ethanol fuels, the economic impact of different energy options and what the community can do to reduce its mark on the environment.
The panel answering questions included two ConocoPhillips spokespersons and representatives from the Missouri Department of Agriculture and Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
Some audience members appeared frustrated by a perceived lack of knowledge from the experts on the panel. On several occasions, the panel did not answer questions in a way satisfactory to the audience. One audience member shook his head throughout the forum, and some questioned their neighbors to clarify responses.
Audience members asked what they could do as individuals to improve the energy situation.
“Compact fluorescents can make a significant difference over time,” said Floyd Gilzow, deputy director of policy for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources about the energy-efficient light bulbs.
The symposium, held on Wednesday afternoon at MU, covered six perspectives on energy efficiency and attracted about 100 faculty members and students.
Merl Lindstrom, general manager of research and development, presented ConocoPhillips’ energy efforts.
Other presenters spoke on nuclear energy and energy perspectives for Missouri.
“The industry has really stepped up to the plate to look at alternative energy,” Lindstrom said. “We can’t take any energy source off the table. We have to look at everything.”