Forbes List of Greenest States: Oregon #2

In a ranking of states based on six environmental criteria, Oregon finished in a statistical dead heat with Vermont for the title of most green.  Washington was just behind in third place:

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 the U.S. Green Building Council's benchmark certification, known as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

The criteria were described in detail, but were based on six criteria:

[W]e ranked each state in six equally weighted categories: carbon footprint, air quality, water quality, hazardous waste management, policy initiatives and energy consumption.

Oregon was credited for a number of things, particularly green buildings, and Washington scored consistently high across all measures:

In 2003, Oregon, California and Washington were the founding members of a group of Western states that earlier this year committed to establishing a market-based system for greenhouse gas emissions. Oregon is already among the top five states with the lowest carbon footprint per capita, and it has more Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified "green building" per capita than any other state.

Washington is strong in just about every category we examined. It's among the top five states for utility spending per capita on energy efficiency ($14.26 per person, according to ACEEE), it's second only to Oregon in LEED-certified buildings per head, and ozone pollution levels are particularly low in places like Spokane, Bellingham and Mt. Vernon. Also, it's among the states with the cleanest water in the country. Why then doesn't Washington merit a higher ranking? In overall energy consumption per person, the state ranks 20th.

But lest Oregon rest on its laurels, there's room to improve:

Why'd it come in second? The state's high marks come with a caveat: Oregon hasn't provided reliable water quality data to the Environmental Protection Agency in recent years, therefore we couldn't factor its water quality into our rankings.

Next year, first place! Discuss.

  • Fred (unverified)

    Check out the US Carbon Footprint Map, an interactive United States Carbon Footprint Map, illustrating Greenest States to Cities. This site has all sorts of stats on individual State & City energy consumptions, demographics and much more down to your local US City level...

  • (Show?)

    This may be a teeny bit off topic, but not by much.

    As ya'll probably know better than I do, the Bush administration is trying to repeal restrictions on mountaintop removal mining. All of our Reps have signed on as co-sponsors of Clean Water Protection Act, HR2169, which would put a halt to these attempts, except Walden (no surprise) and Hooley. Any Hooley folks out there wanna give her a ring or drop a note urging her to sign on? I would suggest the same for Walden but I wouldn't want anyone to get hurt banging their heads on that brick wall.

    <h2>Again, a teensy tad off topic. Please don't hurt me:)</h2>
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