Connecticut shines environmentally: first in nation for water quality, fifth overall
WalletHub, a personal finance website, has lauded our state with green praise once again. We've ranked fifth in the union overall for environmental practices, even tops for water quality. Analysts culled data on everything from rate of waste recycling to soil, air, and water quality. While we weren't high on every criterion, our overall rating was superb. Rankings in order were: #1 Vermont, #2 Massachusetts, #3 Oregon, #4 Washington, and #5 the Nutmeg State. The worst rating on the green scale was Wyoming. I got a chance to send some questions to one of their analysts, Jill Gonzalez. Following is a transcript of that discussion: Jill, explain to me, please, what methods you all used to determine these scores and can you quantify them? We compared the states across three quantifiable categories: 1. Environmental Quality, 2. Eco-Friendly Behaviors and 3. Climate-Change Contributions. These categories were evaluated using 20 relevant key metrics. We then calculated the overall score for each state based on its weighted average across all metrics and used the resulting scores to construct our final ranking. Please find full details here.
Connecticut ranked 5th overall with a total score of 68.96: 7th best for the Environmental Quality category, 22nd for Eco-Friendly Behaviors and 3rd for Climate-Change Contributions. It's interesting and also worrisome to pair the risks of climate change with sea level rise, which the Northeast is vulnerable to. Can you speak to me about risks along the eastern seaboard, and particularly around Long Island Sound? Associated risks and outcomes were not analyzed, just quality, behaviors and contributions. What was the most surprising result in Connecticut? In the Northeast and New England? We were surprised to find that Connecticut has the best water quality in the country, with just 0.3 percent of its population being potentially exposed to water exceeding violation limits in the past year. In the Northeast, New York surprisingly has the lowest energy consumption per capita. While, Vermont has the highest number of alternative-fuel stations at 28.41 per 100,000 residents. Connecticut ranked first for water quality. What does that mean, and how did you assess that? What would give a state poor water quality, as Hawaii got? The data for the Water Quality key metric was obtained from the County Health Rankings and it refers to drinking water violations, specifically the percentage of population potentially exposed to water exceeding a violation limit during the past year. Hawaii ranked last for the water quality key metric as it has the highest percentage of the population potentially exposed to water exceeding a violation limit at almost 23 percent. What else is Connecticut doing right? Where could we use work? Connecticut has low climate-change contributions and fairly good environmental quality. The state could start improving its eco-friendly behaviors, especially when it comes to the number of LEED buildings, currently at just 6.54 per 100,000 residents, and the percentage of energy from renewable sources, now at only 5.84 percent. How does climate change, overall, affect states' rankings at this stage, and is it getting tougher in the Northeast where we may have to run our a/c's more in the summer? States' climate-change contributions were certainly taken into account. Overall, Northeast states have low contributions with little emissions of carbon-dioxide, methane or nitrous-oxide. How did Connnecticut rank for soil quality? How is this measured? Connecticut ranked below average for soil quality, 32nd, with a median soil pH level of 0.65. The data for this specific metric was obtained from International Plant Nutrition Institute. How did the Nutmeg State rank for air quality? How is this measured? You say on the Wallet Hub website that, "Note: This metric measures the average exposure of the general public to particulate matter of 2.5 microns (PM2.5) or less in size." Connecticut ranked below average for air quality at 33rd. The data for this metric was obtained from America's Health Rankings. See the full report here. Photo by Laurie Wiegler, Milford, Connecticut.