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J. Wayne Cropp

Of Counsel

J. Wayne Cropp is a member of the Business Department at Baker Donelson with a focus on environmental law, public policy, and economic development.

Professional Biography

Wayne is a recognized author and lecturer on air quality, climate change, and Superfund and brownfield redevelopment, and a former chair of the Tennessee Bar Association's Environmental Law Committee. Wayne also has deep political experience and relationships, and brings unique experience on emerging environmental policies and advanced manufacturing initiatives to his practice.

Wayne has consistently provided strategic leadership and execution for projects that have received national environmental and economic development acclaim.

From 2006 to 2014, he served as president and CEO of the Enterprise Center, Chattanooga's high-tech economic development agency, where he worked with Chattanooga's high-speed broadband initiative and U.S. government entities on projects throughout the Tennessee Valley Technology Corridor, which encompasses Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and Huntsville, Alabama. In 2016, Wayne received the Corridor Champion Award from the Tennessee Valley Corridor.

Wayne has served as senior vice president and corporate general counsel for an environmental remediation company performing multi-million-dollar environmental restoration projects on the Great Lakes and Louisiana-Texas Gulf Coast, and as president of an environmental and geotechnical engineering company (1998 – 2005).

Among many other corporate representations, Wayne was outside legal counsel to Chattanooga's lead redevelopment agency in the 1990s. He led initial brownfield redevelopment planning for Chattanooga's world-class riverfront development, as well as the development of the Volunteer Army Ammunition Plant site at Enterprise South, which ultimately became the Volkswagen Automotive facility in Chattanooga.

During this period and for a term of 15 years, Wayne was chair of the Environment Committee for the Chattanooga Regional Manufacturers Association, which is now known as the Tennessee Association of Manufacturers. He has also been an active member of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Air Quality and Solid Waste Sub-committees.

During his tenure as executive director of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Air Pollution Control Bureau (1979 – 1990), Wayne developed the implementation strategies that brought worldwide recognition to Chattanooga's environmental initiatives.

Included among his many activities are service on the national level as president of the Association of Local Air Pollution Control Officials (ALAPCO), now known as the National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA), and participation in the development of the National Air Toxics Strategy, as codified in the 1990 Clean Air Act, through his tenure as chair of ALAPCO's Air Toxics Committee.

Wayne was the campaign chair for U.S. Congressman Zach Wamp in 1996 and 1998, and has been a delegate or alternate delegate for Republican presidential candidates at several national conventions (2000, 2004, and 2012).

  • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell (more than 20 years)
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America® in Environmental Law (since 2018)
  • Recipient – Corridor Champion Award, Tennessee Valley Corridor (2016)
  • Attorney (1978 – 1979) and Executive Director (1979 – 1990) – Chattanooga-Hamilton County Air Pollution Control Bureau
  • President – Association of Local Air Pollution Control Officials (ALAPCO) (1983 – 1984)
  • Chair – ALAPCO's Air Toxics Committee (1983 – 1990)
  • Chair, Environment Committee – Chattanooga Regional Manufacturers Association (1990 – 2005)
  • Member – Air and Waste Management Association (1980 – 2023)
  • Chair – Environmental Law Section of the Tennessee Bar Association (2004 – 2005)
  • Member – American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources; subcommittees: Nuclear Law Committee and Renewable, Alternative, and Distributed Energy Committee
  • President – Tennessee Junior Chamber of Commerce (1984 – 1985)
  • Legal Counsel – U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce (1985 – 1986)
  • Air Conservationist of the Year Award, Tennessee Conservation League (1986)
  • Member – Association of Vapor Intrusion Professionals (2022)
  • "Regulatory Analysis and Green Building Trends," Association of Vapor Intrusion Professionals Conference, Nashville, Tennessee (October 2022)
  • "Environmental Stewardship in the Biden Administration," Southern Section, Air and Waste Management Association Annual Meeting (September 2022)
  • "Environmental Stewardship in the Biden Era," Chattanooga Regional Manufacturers Association (November 2021)
  • "Environmental Phoenix: The Chattanooga Story," Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation's Environmental Show of the South (May 2017)
  • "Is the Past Prologue: Environmental Regulation in the New Trump Administration," 84th Annual American Foundry Society's (AFS) Southeastern Regional Conference, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee (March 2017)
  • "Implications of EPA's 'Waters of the U.S.' Regulations," Tennessee Association of Manufacturers 2015 Environment, Health & Safety Summit (November 2015)
  • "Recent Developments in Environmental Issues Related to Real Estate Transactions: Environmental Due Diligence and Vapor Intrusion," Chattanooga Bar Association (October 2015)
  • "From Gritty City to Green – Manufacturing Hub," Society of Environmental Journalists 23rd Annual Conference, Chattanooga, Tennessee (October 2013)
  • "Chattanooga: The Gig City – How Chattanooga Because the First City in the Western Hemisphere to Use 1 Gigabit-per-Second Fiber Internet Service to Grow its Economy," University Economic Development Association Summit (October 2012)
  • Keynote Speaker – U.S. Department of Energy Asset Revitalization Workshop (June 2012)
  • Moderator – "Creating a National Model for Energy Innovation and Independence," Tennessee Valley Corridor Summit (May 2011)


  • Cumberland School of Law, Samford University, J.D., 1977
  • Bryan College, B.S., 1974


  • Tennessee, 1978
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, 1980

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