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The Bryan Cave/Edward A. Smith Symposium: The Green Economy


The Green Economy Symposium is a partnership of the Edward A. Smith/Bryan Cave Symposium, the UMKC Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative, The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Law Review and several academic units of UMKC. The symposium focused on the responsibility of preserving a livable environment in an age of environmental challenges such as climate change, water shortages, and other issues.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

All sessions will be held in the E.E. “Tom” Thompson Courtroom or the Student Lounge on the Ground Floor of the UMKC School of Law.

8:00 – 8:30 AM   Check-In & Welcome Breakfast

8:30 – 8:55 AM   Welcoming Remarks
Summary: Introduction; tribute and silence in honor of Professor Fred Cheever

  • Sly James, Mayor, Kansas City, MO
  • Barbara Bichelmeyer, Interim Chancellor and Provost, UMKC
  • Anthony Luppino, UMKC School of Law
  • Irma Russell, UMKC School of Law
  • Chris Muehlberger, Environmental Protection Agency

9:00 – 10:30 AM   Resilient Communities – Kansas City Smart City Infrastructure

Summary: Data-driven municipal decision-making, facilitated by deployment of sensors and other data gathering mechanisms, has great potential to improve public safety and health and efficient and effective delivery of public services. “Open data” portals and “living lab” endeavors can disseminate information to innovators and entrepreneurs that they can use to address societal challenges. However, these technology-assisted endeavors come with risks to the protection of personal privacy.

A team led by UMKC in a City of KCMO-initiated project, also involving collaborators from other institutions, is exploring the types of data smart city deployments and open data initiatives collect, how it is being collected, stored and released, and the relative roles and responsibilities of various participants in the associated processes. The project, in the MetroLab Network portfolio and in the UMKC-led Legal Technology Laboratory (LTL), involves applying people-first approaches to fashioning model policies that include timely citizen participation and representation, along with robust oversight, and seeks to develop a technology-based toolkit to gauge and facilitate compliance with such policies. A second project to be described in this session (which is part of the LTL portfolio) is an interactive website that is being designed to help potential buyers of Land Bank properties select locations and properties that best fit their individual needs and preferences. The underlying data are drawn from the KCMO open-data portal and include such factors as trends in crime rates, property violations, 311 calls, building permits, and other property-specific and neighborhood indicators of interest to potential buyers.

This panel will discuss both key elements of those two projects and, more broadly, how they evolved from a multidisciplinary and inter-institutional approach to projects-based learning that has spawned other curriculum additions at UMKC that other universities might replicate.


  • Anthony Luppino, UMKC School of Law
  • Michael Robak (via Skype), University of St. Thomas School of Law
  • Kate Garman (via Skype), City of Seattle
  • Jim DeLisle, Lewis White Real Estate Center, Bloch School of Management
  • Ellen Suni, UMKC, Dean Emerita, Moderator

10:40 – 11:50 AM   An Inclusive Green Economy

Summary: A green economy promises to bring with it thousands of jobs—many more than will be lost because of the regulation needed to mitigate and adapt to climate change. But the green economy will exacerbate wealth inequality in some areas of the United States because the people who lose jobs when pollution rules tighten will not likely be the ones getting them when the green economy blooms. If the green economy is to be inclusive, the country must reconcile the goals of Regulatory State (concerned with health, safety, and environmental protection) with the goals of the Social Welfare State (concerned with social and economic well being). If Americans are to be capable of operating in the market economy, participating in civic society, and coping with life’s inevitable struggles, they will need both government protections and economic security. Without this unified package, which we identify with “social resiliency,” the United States will not be fairer or safer.


  • Robert R.M. Verchick, Loyola University New College of Law
  • Sidney Shapiro, Wake Forest University School of Law
  • Julie Cheslik, UMKC School of Law, Moderator

12:00 – 1:15 PM   Luncheon: Corporate Climate Action and Socially Responsible Investing

Summary: Concerns have mounted in recent years with respect to issues such as climate change, social inequity, and other environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) factors. Investors and financial institutions are becoming increasingly mindful of those concerns and are looking to Corporate America to contribute towards solving them. Responding to such pressures, and consistent with good management practice, corporations are rising to the challenge. They are tapping into private resources to undertake sustainability initiatives that can transform cities. The speakers will discuss the business, investor relations and other factors driving this trend, and provide examples on how businesses are stepping in to improve the urban environment. As one case in point, they will focus on how businesses are working with other sectors in New York City to assist the City government in achieving its commitment to achieve an 80 percent reduction in City-wide carbon emissions by 2050.


  • Kevin Healy, Bryan Cave LLP
  • Steven Poplawski, Bryan Cave LLP

1:30 – 2:10 PM P3 – Opportunities for America’s Infrastructure

Summary: For much of the 20th century, America’s Infrastructure was the envy of the world. Crisis borne of the Great Depression and leadership during and following WWII combined to deliver, among other infrastructure, the Hoover, Grand Coulee and Tennessee Valley Authority Dams that still today deliver power to large sections of our country. This also includes the construction of the Interstate Highway System in the 1950’s and 1960’s and DARPA’s seminal work on the Internet in the 1960’s. The themes of this conference are sustainability, entrepreneurship and innovation and all three were on vivid display in each of these projects. This session will explore the challenge of renewing America’s infrastructure in light of these themes by framing some of the issues the Trump administration could consider in formulating an infrastructure plan for America. The considerations will focus on the opportunities and challenges public private partnerships present and feature several case studies that demonstrate lessons learned from both successful and unsuccessful P3 projects. It will conclude with a number of specific recommendations federal, state and local units of government could consider in their desire to attract capital and engage private sector know-how in creating infrastructure for America in the 21st century worthy of our country’s past efforts.


  • Greg Hummel, Bryan Cave LLP

2:20 – 3:50 PM   Sustainable Energy and Constitutionalism

Summary: This session’s presentation will deal with constitutionalism and the environment. The growth of both the need and will to preserve environmental values is apparent in a multitude of contexts. Many countries around the world now expressly recognize the right to a clean and healthful environment as a matter of their constitutions. In the United States, though the U.S. Constitution does not expressly state this right, sustainability, in form and policy, is observable in interrelated American arenas. For example, Indian tribes and their ceremonial practices on aboriginal sacred lands and National Parks pledge to protect lands for future generations. As the urgency of water scarcity increases, state disputes about water allocations under interstate compacts are bound to increase as well and to raise constitutional issues relating to the right to water, state sovereignty, and sustainability. More broadly, the Juliana v. U.S. case recognizes the federal trust and the constitutional basis of protection to a healthful environment, affirming standing of children to assert a public trust in federal resources that would compel federal protection of sustainability against climate change. The panel’s focus and discussion of application of the Due Process Clause, the Equal Protection Clause and other aspects of the constitution to the green economy encompasses a range of legal developments in the law and society.


  • John Ragsdale, UMKC School of Law
  • James R. May, Widener University
  • Burke Griggs, Washburn University School of Law, Commentator/Moderator
  • Irma Russell, UMKC School of Law, Moderator

4:00 – 4:45 PM  Microgrids: Sustainability, Resiliency, and Economics

Summary: Panelists (representatives from government, utilities and utility customers) will discuss the benefits that microgrids can provide to industrial customers in terms of: 1) resilience (primarily the ability to island the microgrid during grid outages); 2) integrating renewable generation resources into the microgrid to meet the customer’s sustainability goals; and 3) economic advantages (generating from the microgrid resources when doing so is cheaper and taking service from the grid when that is cheaper, and selling power into the grid when that is advantageous).


  • Lewis Mills, Bryan Cave LLP
  • Ed Hedges, Kansas City Power & Light Company
  • Jason Holsman, Missouri State Senator, 7th District in Jackson County
  • Chris Holman, UMKC School of Law, Moderator

5:00 – 6:00 PM   Reception

6:00 – 7:00/7:30 PM   A Groundswell of Change in the Heartland:

Summary: We are uniquely positioned to transform the vitality and resilience of our community.

The nationally-recognized growth of Kansas City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, remarkable investment, growth and re-development in the urban core, combined to create a unique opportunity to fundamentally redefine the vitality and resilience of our Heartland region. Examples of the innovation and commitment of our region abound and include the new streetcar system, participation in smart city initiatives, pioneering efforts in neighborhood revitalization projects, healthy urban food systems, social equity programs, improvements in the performance and reduced cost of renewable energy

Systems thinking and a collaborative community dialogue are required to overcome the inertia of obsolete systems, laws and practices that limit our potential to create a new regenerative urban ecosystem. There are strong reasons for hope as evidence is growing that the heartland region has the capacity and can muster the will to build on the current groundswell to change the trajectory of our future at the most important moment in human history. This unique opportunity to design systems, policies, laws and investments to create a regenerative future for life, can assure the vitality and resilience of our citizens and the natural capital that supports our cities. Such efforts advance the benefits in our region and, additionally, provide national exposure and leadership for other communities committed to protecting the environment to serve the public good.


  • Introduction by Barbara Glesner Fines, UMKC School of Law
  • Introduction by Irvin Belzer, Bryan Cave
  • Bob Berkebile, BNIM

Friday, October 6, 2017

All sessions will be held in the E.E. “Tom” Thompson Courtroom or in the Student Lounge on the Ground Floor of the UMKC School of Law.

8:15 AM Introduction by Barbara Glesner Fines, Interim Dean, UMKC School of Law

8:30 – 9:30 AM   Resilience Justice and Public-Private Partnerships with Community-Based Organizations for Green and Blue Infrastructure

Summary: This session addresses the intersection of three important aspects of local communities, environments, and economies: 1) green and blue infrastructure (e.g., parks and open space, trees and vegetation, well-functioning waterways and watersheds, agricultural lands and soils, biotic stormwater controls, greenways and trails, and others) as essential natural capital to facilitate and build the adaptive capacity and resilience of communities to disturbances, shocks, and changing conditions; 2) partnerships between government agencies and community-based organizations, especially in marginalized communities, to build social capital and participatory, collaborative problem-solving; and 3) attention to disparities in the resilience, adaptive capacity, and vulnerabilities of marginalized communities, especially low-income communities and communities of color.


  • Introduction by Irma Russell, UMKC School of Law
  • Tony Arnold (via Skype), Louis D. Brandeis School of Law – University of Louisville

9:40 – 11:50 AM   Forms of Doing Business in the Green Economy

Summary: This session explores legal issues in choosing and implementing an organizational structure for a social venture. The discussion will examine attributes of traditional for-profit and non-profit entities and recently emerging hybrid entities (including L3Cs and benefit corporations, and proposals for other forms), and significant issues in capital structure and tax planning. Particular emphasis will be placed on considering the fiduciary duties of managers with missions that include the pursuit of social benefits, addressing some popular misconceptions about hybrid entities and “program related investments,” and exploring policy debates.


    • Anthony Luppino, UMKC School of Law, Moderator
    • John Tyler, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
    • Chris Hoyt, UMKC School of Law

Joan Heminway, The University of Tennessee College of Law

12:00 – 1:30 PM   Luncheon: Acting as if Tomorrow Matters: A Conversation with the Next Generation

Summary: This session will explain why we are facing an emergency with respect to climate and that emergencies force people to change the things that they have been doing, in order to respond effectively. The presentation will then identify at least seven things that individuals should do differently now in order to address climate change.


  • John Dernbach, Widener University Commonwealth Law School
  • Brandon Weiss, UMKC School of Law, Moderator
  • UMKC Faculty Commentators: Clara Irazabal-Zurita, Molly Davies, and Jimmy Adegoke
  • UMKC Students, including officers of the Environmental Law Society (President: Courtney Ruby) and the Law Review student editors.

1:30 PM Closing Remarks by Irma Russell, UMKC School of Law

You can access the presentations from both days here.