John H. Johnson Jr.

Retired Partner

Business Phone: 404.885.3166
Business Fax: 404.962.6594


John represents a broad range of clients in a variety of environmental settings, including regulatory compliance counseling, regulatory enforcement actions, transactions, and litigation. His experience extends across the spectrum of federal environmental laws, including the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Superfund), as well as numerous state and local counterparts. John has extensive experience assisting clients in the development and implementation of compliance auditing programs and on-going compliance monitoring, the issuance of environmental permits, the defense and resolution of administrative and judicial enforcement actions, transactional due diligence and risk allocation, NEPA-related project development, and site assessment, remediation, and redevelopment. Prior to joining Troutman Sanders, John served as Chief of the Air and Toxics Branch and Chief of the Hazardous Waste Branch in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Regional Counsel in Atlanta.

Representative Matters

  • As Chief of the Air & Toxics Law Branch and, subsequently, Hazardous Waste Law Branch, in the Office of Regional Counsel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, was responsible for federal air quality, toxics, hazardous waste, and Superfund counseling activities, including all enforcement and permitting matters, in the eight Southeastern states under the jurisdiction of Region 4.
  • Provided counsel to a commercial waste treatment facility in obtaining the first hazardous waste treatment and storage permit issued by the State of Georgia.
  • Represented a Northeastern utility with respect to environmental matters, including hazardous/mixed waste and NPDES issues, associated with the decommissioning of a nuclear power plant.
  • Represented a wood products company in obtaining deletion of the company’s property from a site on the Superfund National Priorities List; one of the first such “partial NPL deletions” issued by EPA.
  • Represented clients in due diligence reviews and contractual negotiations for numerous international transactions, including projects in Canada, the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Indonesia, Australia, Portugal, the Czech Republic, and the Bahamas.
  • Represented a major forest products company in obtaining State agency approval of a RCRA clean closure for two wood treatment facility surface impoundments which had historically received listed and characteristic hazardous waste.
  • Served as counsel for a chemical manufacturer with respect to RCRA corrective action involving ethylene dichloride in soils and groundwater at a facility in Louisiana.  Negotiated a Corrective Action Plan combining bio-remediation with a risk-based closure standard.
  • Represented an international chemical company in negotiations with EPA and other PRPs with respect to a former metals recovery facility listed on the NPL.  The client's alleged liability was based on its stock purchase of a company which spun off the metals recovery operations immediately prior to the purchase.  Through negotiations with EPA and litigation with other PRPs, the client's potential liability was assumed by another PRP, whom the Agency ordered to perform RD/RA at the site.
  • Represented an international chemical company at a Superfund Site in Alabama, including negotiation of two RD/RA consent decrees for the groundwater and solid waste management operable units, negotiation of RI/FS activities for three operable units, negotiation with trustees on natural resource damage issues, and the filing of a petition for review in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals challenging, and obtaining through settlement, the withdrawal of EPA's designation of a 40-mile stretch of the Mobile River as an additional operable unit.  Also represented the client in obtaining a ROD amendment estimated to reduce remedial costs by $12-15 million.
  • On behalf of a major wood products company, performed an air quality compliance evaluation with respect to Title V and State-enforceable only requirements for air emissions at 16 manufacturing facilities located in 10 states.  The review resulted in consultation with two State agencies, and the agencies concurred that the emissions did not violate Federal or State-enforceable only provisions of the respective facilities' Title V permits.
  • Represented a State Department of Transportation, as a Special Attorney General, in a citizen suit brought by environmental groups challenging highway construction projects under the conformity provisions of Section 176 of the Clean Air Act.  The litigation was settled favorably under a consent agreement which allowed the completion of projects on which construction had commenced.
  • Represented a major air carrier in consent order negotiations with the Director of the EPA Headquarters Water Enforcement Division and staff concerning the quality of drinking water on domestic and international flights.


  • “Reagan v. Trump: Remembering the Reagan Administration to Inform Today’s Events;” presentation at Georgia ICLE Environmental Law Seminar; Amelia Island, Florida;
  • “EPA’s Hazardous Waste Rule is Just What the Doctor Ordered;” with Gregory W. Blount and Karlie C. Webb; Law360; September 2015.
  • “Healthcare Meets the Environment: A Symposium on Managing Pharmaceutical Wastes;” presentation at Georgia State University; September 2015.
  • "Recent Environmental Developments Affecting the Forest Products Industry;” presentation to General Counsels Resource Committee, American Forrest & Paper Association; April 2011.
  • “Keeping a Site with Groundwater Issues Off the Hazardous Site Inventory; HSRA Case Law Update;” presentation at Georgia Institute of Continuing Legal Education Environmental Law Seminar; Atlanta, Georgia; December 1998.
  • “Structuring Corporate and Real Estate Transactions Involving Contamination;” with Douglas A. Henderson and J. Michael Childers; Georgia Bar Journal; August 1998.
  • “Presumptive Remedies for Groundwater Cleanup: A Legal Perspective;” with Douglas A. Henderson; Remediation of Chlorinated and Recalcitrant Compounds, Batelle Press; 1998.
  • “Transactions Involving Environmentally Impaired Property;” Presentation at Georgia ICLE Environmental Law Seminar; St. Simons Island, Georgia; July 18, 1997.
  • “A Practical Guide to Federal Release Reporting Requirements;” presentation at Executive Enterprises Seminar; New York, New York; June 21, 1996.

Professional and Community Involvement

  • State Bar of Georgia (Member, Environmental Law Section)
  • North Carolina State Bar
  • American Bar Association (Member, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources

Rankings and Recognition

  • Georgia, Environment, Chambers USA (2005-2018).
  • Achieved Martindale-Hubbell’s highest rating for legal ability and ethical standards.
  • Selected as a Super Lawyer in Environmental by Law & Politics and Atlanta Magazine (2004-2017).
  • Ranked on list of top 100 attorneys in Georgia by Law & Politics and Atlanta Magazine (2008-2010).
  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America in Environmental Law, Litigation - Environmental (2006-2019).
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers in America®: Litigation - Environmental Atlanta Lawyer of the Year, 2015.
  • Named to the Top Rated Lawyers Guide to Energy/Environmental/Natural Resources Law (2012).
  • Recognized in Best Lawyers in America, “Lawyer of the Year – Environmental Litigation” (2016).
  • Fellow, American College of Environmental Lawyers

Professional Experience

  • Partner, Troutman Sanders LLP, 1990-present
  • Associate, Troutman Sanders LLP, 1986-1990
  • Attorney, Office of Regional Counsel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Atlanta Office, 1977-1986 (Chief of Hazardous Waste Law Branch, 1983-1986; Chief of Air & Toxics Law Branch, 1980-1983)



  • University of North Carolina, J.D., 1976
  • University of North Carolina, B.A., 1970

Bar Admissions

  • Georgia
  • North Carolina

Court Admissions

  • Georgia State Courts
  • Georgia Superior Courts
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit