Kentucky is harder on the environment in more ways than nearly all other states, according to a new comprehensive ranking.
Kentucky is ranked 48th in WalletHub.com’s study of the greenest states, which it determined by comparing all 50 states across environmental quality, eco-friendly behaviors and contributions to climate change. The group used lots of data kept by or available from multiple government agencies and some foundations. Included were air, water and soil qualities; energy-efficiency; green buildings per capita; energy, water, gasoline consumption per capita; average commute times; share of recycled municipal waste; alternative-fuel vehicles per capita; carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous-oxide and flourinated greenhouse gas emissions per capita; and much more.
The commonwealth ranked last in environmental quality, in part because the state’s water quality was ranked 46th and air quality wasn’t much better, coming in at 38th.
Kentucky was 45th in LEED-Certified green buildings per capita, which evaluates environmental performances of buildings. The state placed 47th for eco-friendly behaviors and 42nd for percentage of renewable energy consumption. Kentucky was 38th in energy consumption and 34th in gasoline consumption per capita.
On contributions to climate change, which compared emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and greenhouse gas, the state ranked 47th.
Only West Virginia and Louisiana were less green than the bluegrass state.
Vermont, Oregon and Massachusetts were the most environmentally-friendly states, according to the study. Kentucky’s southern neighbors, Tennessee, seem to have things more figured out, as it came in 23rd overall.