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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.

Part of their reasoning is that Indiana has a lot of manufacturing and that these industries put out considerable amounts of 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 2008 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 2008. 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 2008 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 2008, the ranking for each pollutant, and the overall ranking.

Indiana is tied for ninth best overall. This indicates that while Indiana manufacturers produce a lot of goods, they do it very efficiently, with relatively little air pollution.

Indiana’s highest rating (39) 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 - 2008
($ million) Ranking
State Goods PM-2.5 SO2 NOx VOC CO Total Overall
AL 116,401 27 43 25 33 23 151 30
AK 9,071 43 24 47 13 43 170 36
AZ 56,274 30 25 37 45 42 179 40
AR 61,242 39 26 28 40 38 171 37
CA 517,454 31 1 7 27 29 95 18
CO 46,925 34 22 40 39 40 175 39
CT 56,595 3 3 1 2 3 15 1
DE 25,895 2 29 2 1 1 35 4
DC 345 45 46 51 46 51 239 50
FL 99,687 36 41 45 42 45 209 45
GA 143,601 29 47 31 32 33 172 38
HI 8,528 25 44 42 15 37 163 35
ID 19,052 46 12 34 47 47 186 43
IL 269,514 12 20 12 8 3 55 7
IN 220,856 14 39 13 4 2 72 9
IA 98,666 23 28 22 12 8 93 17
KS 84,883 40 19 27 25 19 130 26
KY 113,970 16 40 24 17 12 109 21
LA 227,978 13 14 10 18 5 60 8
ME 17,191 24 18 33 35 41 151 30
MD 40,568 21 48 36 19 34 158 34
MA 83,713 5 9 5 5 10 34 2
MI 210,197 8 31 20 10 15 84 14
MN 116,827 35 10 26 26 30 127 24
MS 62,556 33 21 32 43 27 156 32
MO 109,938 32 42 30 31 22 157 33
MT 12,711 48 35 48 51 48 230 48
NE 46,885 37 30 38 30 14 149 29
NV 16,014 47 47 41 49 49 233 49
NH 18,600 18 37 16 16 20 107 20
NJ 117,280 1 6 9 6 13 35 4
NM 16,661 50 27 46 48 46 217 46
NY 163,993 6 15 19 14 21 75 11
NC 199,888 26 23 8 23 31 111 22
ND 13,956 49 49 49 41 35 223 47
OH 298,539 10 38 14 3 11 76 12
OK 73,562 41 32 39 36 32 180 41
OR 71,037 38 4 15 38 44 139 28
PA 249,177 9 45 11 9 7 81 13
RI 11,627 4 5 3 7 16 35 4
SC 92,527 20 33 17 28 18 116 23
SD 14,181 44 13 43 44 39 183 42
TN 139,010 11 36 23 20 7 97 19
TX 646,178 15 11 18 24 4 72 9
UT 42,963 22 8 35 37 25 127 24
VT 9,931 28 7 6 21 24 86 15
VA 91,030 17 34 29 29 26 135 27
WA 111,077 19 2 21 22 18 92 16
WV 26,225 42 51 44 34 36 207 44
WI 156,368 7 16 4 11 9 47 6
WY 10,747 51 50 50 50 50 251 51

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