Smokestacks_3958A new analysis by WalletHub showed that among America’s 100 most-populated cities, Louisville ranks near the bottom in their list of “Greenest Cities,” mostly due to its poor air quality, greenhouse gas emissions and lack of public transportation.

The analysis gathered statistics from 13 different indicators to derive its scores, measuring each city’s environmental quality, transportation options, energy sources and local policies — with Louisville coming in at No. 97.

Louisville was tied for last place in the category for greenhouse-gas emissions per capita, also ranking No. 82 in its percentage of electricity derived from renewable sources (4 percent) and No. 77 in median air quality index. It also ranked as one of the least walkable cities, as well as scoring low in biking and the percentage of commuters who drive (80.2 percent).

The city’s score was perhaps saved from ranking at the very bottom due to local green initiatives and programs. Louisville ranked No. 24 in the number of local programs promoting the use of green energy (45) and No. 37 for the number of smart-energy policies and initiatives (40). It also ranked No. 38 in the percentage of green goods and services sector employment compared with total employment, at 2.5 percent, and No. 23 in water quality.

Indianapolis fared even worse in the rankings, coming in at No. 98. Lexington was No. 49, scoring high in environmental quality, while Cincinnati was No. 33, largely due to being ranked 11th in the categories measuring cities’ green lifestyle and local policies.

The rankings in the study were derived by data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Trust for Public Land, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center, the Environmental Working Group, Walk Score and Yelp.

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Joe Sonka
Joe Sonka is a staff writer at Insider Louisville focusing on government, politics, education and public safety. He is a former news editor and staff writer at LEO Weekly and has also freelanced for The Nation and ThinkProgress. He has won first place awards from the Louisville Metro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the categories of Health Reporting, Enterprise Reporting, Government/Politics, Minority/Women’s Affairs Reporting, Continuing Coverage and Best Blog. Email him at [email protected]