Before the wailing and gnashing of teeth gets too out of hand as the politically correct react to Clean Edge’s ranking of West Virginia at 49th in its 2014 Clean Tech Leadership Index, it is a good idea to add a touch of perspective to the report. Clean Edge is a research and advisory firm, which, by its own admission, has little interest in looking past the “clean-tech market.” Its offices are in San Francisco, Calif., and Portland, Ore.
In compiling its list covering “key clean-energy market activity for diverse stakeholders including corporations, government agencies, economic development agencies, (nongovernmental organizations), service firms, and investors,” Clean Edge wanted to give highest rankings to states and metro areas that, in its view, excelled in “clean-energy generation, energy storage installations, green building deployment, energy efficiency expenditures, (venture capital) investments, clean-energy patents,” etc. But guess who got to define “clean.”
Anyone who has spent five minutes studying West Virginia and its economy-and today’s political environment-knows the standards used to compile this report are irrelevant. Yet liberals wasted no time in using words such as “shameful” and “sad” to discuss the ranking.
Let us take a look then, shall we, at the state that, to no one’s surprise, ranked first in the Clean Tech Leadership Index. California has more than half of the “dirtiest” cities in the country. Its air pollution is infamous. The American Lung Association has said the state has the worst air quality in the nation. Environmentalists call the industrial corridor that stretches between the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach a “diesel death zone.” Yet, Clean Edge gave the state a score of 93.7, compared with West Virginia’s 9.5.
What is truly shameful and sad is the willingness of some to jump on any such study that intentionally paints West Virginia in a negative light.