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Going green: Which U.S. states are the least environmentally friendly?

A new comprehensive assessment led by Portland Real Estate has recently revealed how states fare on their green initiatives. 

The analysis considered various components such as emission types and amounts, accessibility to nature for residents, air and water quality, use of green transportation options, fossil fuel production, and overall energy usage. 

Based on these parameters, an environmental impact score was derived for each state. Here are the top 10 least environmentally friendly states:

1. Mississippi (33.7/100) 

Mississippi struggles most with its green initiatives, securing the lowest spot. It faces serious challenges in transportation, evidenced by the lack of hybrid or electric vehicles. 

Only 0.23 percent of its population uses public transport. Its water efficiency and sustainability score are dismal, at just 2/100, attributed to the high number of residents accessing contaminated water facilities.

2. Louisiana (34.6/100) 

Louisiana, though slightly ahead of Mississippi, has the nation’s poorest nature score at 20.7 out of 100. The state has a mere 50 square miles dedicated to parks and is significantly lacking in hiking trails. 

Additionally, its substantial contribution of 183.3 million tons to national CO2 emissions cannot be overlooked.

3. New Mexico (35.2/100) 

New Mexico’s lower ranking arises from concerns related to water quality, with 1.1 million residents depending on unreliable water sources. 

The state also has the 13th poorest air quality and is a significant producer of coal, with an annual production close to 9,265 thousand short tons.

4. Alabama (35.8/100) 

Alabama’s low score stems from transportation challenges, with just 1.53 percent of its vehicles being electric or hybrid. 

The state’s score also lags due to a mere 75 square miles being covered by parks. Additionally, it ranks 13th in the country for CO2 emissions.

5. North Dakota (36.3/100) 

North Dakota’s environmental challenges are accentuated by its high emissions rate, rising to 3.32kg of black carbon per person annually. 

Its transportation metrics are also concerning, with a mere 0.19 percent of vehicles being green. Furthermore, the state is a significant producer of fossil fuels.

6. West Virginia (37.5/100) 

West Virginia faces significant water quality challenges, with 934,993 residents depending on compromised water facilities. Its CO2 emissions also stand out, rising up to 76.9 million tons annually.

7. Oklahoma (38.8/100) 

Oklahoma’s low score is due to transportation and nature-related challenges. The state has a limited number of electric or hybrid vehicles and lacks expansive green spaces, with only 88 square miles dedicated to parks. Additionally, its annual CO2 emission stands at 63.1 million tons.

8. Alaska (39.6/100) 

Alaska, despite its vast natural landscapes, has the second-highest emissions score. 

The state produces 36 million tons of CO2 yearly. Its fossil fuel production is also significant, and only a small percentage of its vehicles are green.

9. Texas (40.7/100) 

Texas, a significant contributor to CO2 emissions, produces a staggering 624 million tons annually. Its fossil fuel production is also substantial, and it ranks low in air quality metrics.

10. Kentucky (41.6/100) 

Kentucky’s challenges revolve around water quality and transportation. It has a low percentage of green vehicles, and its annual CO2 emissions reach 101.9 million tons.

Highlight: Oregon (51.6/100) 

Oregon ranks as the 20th greenest state. Its transportation score is commendable, with 8.42 percent of vehicles being hybrid or electric. However, it struggles with emissions, producing 9.25 tons of CO2 per person annually.

“It is interesting to see how each state has scored in the various factors that contribute to a less green environment. When deciding where to live or buy a home, a greener environment is a deciding factor for many,” a spokesperson from Portland Real Estate concluded. 

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