Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois all among the 11 “Least Green States”

April 25, 2011-by 24/7 Wall Street.

Editor’s note-The listing compiled was actually  from first greenest to the least greenest. Vermont occupies 1st place while Indiana came in a dubious 48th. Illinois ranked 44th and Kentucky 40th.

Illustration © 2011 John Blair



24/7 Wall St. has analyzed the environmental issues facing the 50 states. Pollution is as much a state problem as a national one. Ohio, which ranks poorly on our list, has more problems than Vermont, which ranks well.  Unlike Ohio, Vermont does not have to regulate hundreds of factories, which pollute the water and air. Similarly, Ohio does not have great tracts of land where it can install vast numbers of wind farms. Texas, which ranks first in wind energy, does.  Texas, however, has the largest number of coal-fired power plants.  As a consequence, the state burns more coal and produces more carbon dioxide than any other state. No two states have the same problems. This means that solutions must be informed by both local and national concerns.

24/7 Wall St. examined energy consumption, pollution problems and state energy policies with the help of industry experts, government databases and research reports.  Data comprising 49 separate metrics came from a number of sources. Of the 49 metrics chosen, rankings for all of them were reflected in 27 final separate categories.  The sources included The Pew Center on Global Climate ChangeThe Energy Information AdministrationThe Department of EnergyThe Interstate Renewable Energy CouncilRenewable Energy WorldAmerican Council For an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)The Environmental Protection AgencyThe American Lung AssociationEnvironment America’s Research and Policy CenterThe Political Economy Research Institute, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  Although other state factors like industry type and scale, GDP, population and natural resources were considered, they did not impact the rankings.

We used only recent information available for all states – issued in 2009 and 2010 — and collected thousands of data points to reach our rankings of the most and least “green” states.  For each metric, the higher the rank, the better the score, the lower the rank, the worst.

The rankings, in other words, are balanced so that one or two grades from the study cannot overwhelm two or three other grades.  For example, Mississippi ranks third on our list in Environmental Protection Agency violations.  Meanwhile, the state ranks in the bottom half of our list for financial incentives for alternative energy and 49th in energy efficiency. Conversely, Iowa, is in the bottom half for carbon footprint, air particle pollution, and water pollution. Nevertheless, the state ranks in the top ten overall because it scores well in areas such as financial incentives for energy consumption and wind energy production.

The results of this effort are what we believe to be among the most comprehensive report on the state of pollution in all 50 states coupled with each state’s responses.

Read more: The Environmental State of The Union: A Survey of Pollution, Energy Use and Policy in all 50 States – 24/7 Wall St.

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