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Air Quality in Indiana

Air Quality in Indiana > Air Quality 101 Air Quality 101

January 22, 2015: Indiana’s Air Quality and Manufacturing

Some people mistakenly believe that Indiana has poor air quality. The truth is that Indiana attained the national standards for all six criteria air pollutants in 2009, and our air quality is continuing to improve.

When it comes to the amount of air emissions produced from manufacturing, a look at all states shows that Indiana is ninth best overall. This indicates that while Indiana manufacturers produce a lot of goods, they do it very efficiently, with relatively little air pollution.

Part of the misperception about Indiana’s air quality may be due to the fact that Indiana has a lot of manufacturing, and industry is associated with air pollution. Indiana does produce a lot of steel, cement and automobiles. It has two refineries. Indiana also grows and processes quite a bit of grain. Manufacturing activities do put out air pollutants.

States that do not manufacture items rely on states like Indiana to produce the goods they need or demand. It is unfair for those non-manufacturing states to complain about air pollution from manufacturing states at the same time that they demand and use the goods we produce.

In response to such complaints, this column examines how much air pollution each state emitted in 2011 in comparison with how much manufactured goods each state produced during the same year.

The emissions data came from the U.S. EPA National Emission Inventory (NEI), which is updated every third year and was most recently updated in 2011. This column looks at state total emissions for five of the criteria air pollutants: fine particles (PM-2.5), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and carbon monoxide (CO).

Data for goods produced in 2011 were obtained from the STATS Indiana website. The emission value for each pollutant for each state (in tons per year) was divided by the goods produced (in $ million per year) to obtain a value related to how efficiently (cleanly) goods are produced. For each state the values were ranked from best (1) to worst (51). The five rankings were summed to obtain an overall value which was then ranked.

The table below shows each state, the amount of goods produced per year in 2011, the ranking for each pollutant, and the overall ranking.

Indiana’s highest rating (38) is for SO2. Indiana relies heavily on coal fired electrical generation. As some of these plants are closed or converted to natural gas over the next few years, Indiana’s ranking should improve even more.

At the same time our air quality is improving, U.S. EPA has further reduced the permissible levels of pollutants. As a result, some areas that met the previous standards do not meet these new standards, even though the actual levels have continued to decline on average. Indiana will continue its work to improve air quality even further.

Comments can be sent to me at kbaugues@idem.in.gov.

Ranking of Pollution/Manufactured Goods - 2011
($ million) Ranking
State Goods PM-2.5 SO2 NOx VOC CO Total Overall
AL 113,195 25 41 26 27 23 142 29
AK 8,323 51 46 49 51 61 248 49
AZ 50,048 43 31 39 44 45 202 44
AR 59,897 38 32 31 37 36 174 36
CA 497,755 5 2 1 9 4 21 1
CO 49,230 35 27 40 43 39 184 39
CT 51,946 3 4 3 5 14 29 4
DE 20,626 2 13 4 2 3 24 2
DC 182 48 51 51 50 50 250 51
FL 92,182 36 40 43 41 44 204 45
GA 144,395 32 35 28 23 35 153 33
HI 7,695 28 47 46 34 37 192 40
ID 22,895 44 9 37 45 47 182 38
IL 275,279 14 22 10 4 1 51 7
IN 232,142 8 38 8 1 2 57 9
IA 102,091 29 29 16 11 9 94 18
KS 84,277 41 14 32 35 32 154 34
KY 118,970 16 42 23 15 11 107 22
LA 270,123 21 16 11 19 7 74 10
ME 15,853 27 19 34 30 29 139 28
MD 41,836 17 37 35 24 33 146 31
MA 80,477 7 11 6 10 15 49 5
MI 221,204 10 28 19 13 16 86 14
MN 121,021 31 10 24 31 30 126 26
MS 60,471 37 23 27 32 26 145 30
MO 107,703 33 44 36 28 28 169 35
MT 11,706 49 45 47 48 48 237 48
NE 52,946 34 30 33 16 17 130 27
NV 14,923 39 17 42 38 40 176 37
NH 19,653 15 34 7 17 21 94 19
NJ 107,436 1 1 2 7 13 24 3
NM 28,594 46 21 44 47 46 204 46
NY 151,374 12 20 25 22 22 101 20
NC 200,420 24 12 14 29 31 110 23
ND 13,403 47 49 48 46 41 231 47
OH 292,737 9 43 15 3 8 78 11
OK 69,833 40 39 41 40 38 198 43
OR 59,665 42 7 22 39 42 152 32
PA 237,600 6 36 21 6 10 79 12
RI 11,175 4 6 12 12 18 52 8
SC 90,737 23 26 18 18 19 104 21
SD 16,152 45 24 38 42 43 192 41
TN 132,135 11 33 17 14 12 87 15
TX 671,372 22 15 13 26 5 81 13
UT 50,788 19 8 30 33 20 110 24
VT 10,550 26 5 9 20 27 87 16
VA 94,688 18 25 29 25 24 121 25
WA 115,059 20 3 20 21 25 89 17
WV 23,977 30 48 45 36 34 193 42
WI 163,107 13 18 5 8 6 50 6
WY 8,757 50 50 50 49 49 248 50

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