Red, White, and Poison: 20 Most Polluted States

Of the most polluted states, Kentucky tops this noxious list.
Of the most polluted states Kentucky tops the list. (Photo: Kevin Morris / Getty Images)
Sep 9, 2012· 1 MIN READ

Via Living Green Magazine

Residents of Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania are exposed to more toxic air pollution from coal-fired power plants than in any other state, according to a recent analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), earning them the distinction of being the most polluted states in America.

At the same time, the report found a 19 percent decrease in all air toxics emitted from power plants in 2010, the most recent data available, compared to 2009 levels. The welcomed drop, which also includes a 4 percent decrease in mercury emissions, results from two key factors.

One is the increasing use by power companies of natural gas, which has become cheaper and is cleaner burning than coal; the other is the installation of state-of-the-art pollution controls by many plants–in anticipation of new health protections issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The most polluted states on the “Toxic 20″ list (from worst to best) are:

1) Kentucky

2) Ohio

3) Pennsylvania

4) Indiana

5) West Virginia

6) Florida

7) Michigan

8) North Carolina

9) Georgia

10) Texas

11) Tennessee

12) Virginia

13) South Carolina

14) Alabama

15) Missouri

16) Illinois

17) Mississippi

18) Wisconsin

19) Maryland

20) Delaware

For eight states on the Toxic 20 list, both of their senators supported a resolution by Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., to stop the mercury and air toxics safeguard: Kentucky, Indiana, Georgia, Texas, Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi. Meanwhile, both senators from three states: Michigan, Maryland and Delaware voted against the measure. The remaining nine states had mixed votes among their senators, and may hold their place among the most polluted states in years to come.

For more, head on over to Living Green Magazine.

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