CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) – A WalletHub study that examines each state’s environmental quality, eco-friendly behaviors and climate change contributions found that West Virginia is the least green state in the country. The Mountain State ranks last in the water quality and LEED-certified buildings per capita.
West Virginia ranks low in percent of renewable energy consumption and energy consumption per capita. It ranks average in air quality, soil quality, and gasoline consumption per capita. In general categories, the state ranks 48th in Environmental Quality, 48th in Eco-Friendly Behaviors, and last in Climate Change Contributions. WalletHub gave West Virginia a total score of 20.65.
Meanwhile, West Virginia’s neighbor, Maryland, ranked fourth in the country. The study said Maryland tied for first with a few states on the highest water quality and has the second most certified LEED-certified buildings per capita. The state ranks 9th in Environmental Quality, 4th in Eco-Friendly Behaviors, and 7th in Climate Change Contributions. WalletHub gave Maryland a total score of 75.53.
Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia received average ranks, with Pennsylvania at 25th, Ohio 30th, and Virginia 18th. Pennsylvania’s total score is 59.92, and it ranked 19th in Environmental Quality, 14th in Eco-Friendly Behaviors, and 37th in Climate Change Contributions.
Ohio came in at 46th for percentage of renewable energy consumption. With a total score of 57.43, Ohio ranks 29th in Environmental Quality, 35th in Eco-Friendly Behaviors, and 24th in Climate Change Contributions. Virginia ranked fourth in most LEED-certified buildings per capita. With a total score of 63.60, Virginia ranks 14th in Environmental Quality, 18th in Eco-Friendly Behaviors, and 21st in Climate Change Contributions.
Kentucky joins West Virginia in the top five least green states, ranking in at 45th. Kentucky ranks opposite of West Virginia in water quality, though. The state joins Maryland in being one of the few states with the highest water quality. Those environmental factors seemed to help Kentucky’s total score in this study of 42.41, as the state ranks 27th in Environmental Quality. However, the state ranks 47th and 45th in Eco-Friendly Behaviors and Climate Change Contributions, respectively.
The study found that smaller states tend to be more eco-friendly, and political leaning seems to have an effect, too. WalletHub said blue states tend to rank higher on this list, with a 15.24 average rank for Democrat states compared to a 35.76 average rank for Republican states, based on how the state voted during the 2020 presidential election.