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The Greenest States

The Greenest and Least-Green States

April 22 is Earth Day. This year, its theme is "A Billion Acts of Green." The idea behind the 2011 program is to demonstrate that millions of small acts can make a profound difference in the environment. Whether that is true or not, the Earth Day Network which oversees all of the major organized green activity for the annual environmental awareness day through over 22,000 partners in nearly 200 countries has decided to adopt it as their 2011 theme.

Before 1970, the idea of environmental responsibility and pollution were foreign concepts to most Americans. Similarly, American companies could pollute with out regard to consequences. It was before the Environmental Protection Agency, and before the agency's Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.

In an effort to bring these issues into the spotlight, Senator Gaylord Nelson created Earth Day in the Spring of 1970. That December, responding to public outcry, Congress formed the EPA.

Since that time, pollution has reduced significantly. Companies are prosecuted for violations, states and local governments attempt to control and limit waste, and organizations bring class action suits against entities for failing to observe environmental regulations.

Although the environment has improved, issues still exist. Federal bodies like the EPA help enforce laws but state industries and efforts often have a far greater effect on local communities.

24/7 Wall St. takes a look at the states that are taking care of the environment... and states that aren't. First, read on to see the least-green states.

(iStock Photo)

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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