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Environment & Energy

How Eco-Friendly is Pennsylvania?

Nicholas A. Tonelli

Pennsylvania is the 14th most eco-friendly state in the U.S., according to WalletHub.

Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub’s spokesperson, said the financial social network looked at 14 different metrics falling into the categories of either “Environmental Quality Rank” or “Eco-Friendly Behaviors Rank.”

“On the quality side of things we looked at carbon dioxide emissions per capita, air, water and soil quality,” Gonzalez said. “And then for behaviors, we looked at the number of green buildings per capita, the percentage of waste recycled, and then green transportation, so the percentage of people that walk, bike or carpool to work every day.”

Gonzalez said Pennsylvania did great in some categories but definitely needs improvement in others.

“We looked, of course, at the soil quality, which ranks sixth in the country, really great, water quality ranked 12th in PA,” Gonzalez said. “But air quality, unfortunately, ranked 48th, so closer to the bottom of the list.  It is, I know, home to the Steel City, and I know that it’s trying to improve its industry circumstances.”

She said this list is important because of climate change, citing the $71.4 billion spent by New York and New Jersey to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy in 2012 – which she attributes to climate change.

“And that’s really just the beginning of things, you know as storm surges, other bad weather, they’re expected to cause more than $500 billion in property damage by the year 2100,” Gonzalez said. “So those are things that we really need to look out for.”

But she said even little changes can help.

“Really making small changes in your daily life, whether it’s running one errand on a bike or carpooling one day per week to work – little things like that can really make a big change,” Gonzalez said. “Especially if we’re talking about a population size as big as Pennsylvania.”

Vermont claimed title of most eco-friendly state while Louisiana was last on the list.