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Forbes Ranks Greenest States 2007

California doesn't break the top 10 because FIVE of our cities are on American Lung Assoc's list of worst long-term smog and ozone pollution communities.

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We won't hold you in suspense...California ranks 14th!

Oct. 19, 2007 -- Forbes named the greenest states in the nation for strides these states have taken in areas such as energy efficiency, low carbon emissions and green building. On top: Vermont, Oregon and Washington. All have low carbon dioxide emissions per capita (or "carbon footprints"), strong policies to promote energy efficiency and high air quality, as indicated by their major metro areas that are low in smog and ozone pollution. They're also among the states with the most buildings (on a per capita basis) that have received LEED certification by the USGBC.

Western U.S., with its big skies and open spaces feels green--but when you look at broader measurements of humans' impact on the environment, including consumption patterns, air and water quality, and waste, as well as policy, they don't fare as well.

Despite the acreage and lack of people, as well as mountains of regulation in California, Westerners drive further and use more resources than their cramped Eastern cousins

One of the most startling findings on our list is that California doesn't crack the top 10, despite routinely setting the bar for environmental policy. At least five of its metropolitan areas, including Los Angeles, Bakersfield and Fresno, appear on the American Lung Association's 2007 list of cities with the worst long-term smog and ozone pollution. And 69% of its major water facilities exceeded their Clean Water Act permit limits at least once in 2005, according to PIRG. That's the 10th worst percentage in the country. Hawaii and Maryland rounded out the top five in a list that found that, overall, "the congested Eastern Coast is a lot more environmentally friendly than you thought."

The magazine ranked each state based on carbon footprint, air quality, water quality, hazardous waste management, policy initiatives and energy consumption.

It used information from the American Lung Association's 2007 State of the Air Report, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, PIRG's water assessment data, U.S. Green Building Council and the American Council for an Energy-Efficienct Economy, among other agencies.

New York City’s density means many use public transportation but the state overall has a low carbon footprint and low energy consumption, putting it in ninth place.

Arizona, in 10th place, boasts overall clean air and low energy usage.

Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Indiana and West Virginia finished last on the list because of toxic waste, pollution, consumption and lack of corrective environmental policies.

SOURCE:Forbes, "America's Greenest States"

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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