THE FIRST OF the 13 original states to ratify the Constitution of the United States, Delaware ranks 45th in population among the states in the United States, although it is the fourth most densely-populated state. Delaware's energy consumption reflects the same pat tern. Total consumption is among the lowest in the United States, 47th in rank, but per capita energy consumption is disproportionately high. In 2003, the state ranked 17th highest among the 50 states. Delaware's high consumption of energy can be attributed, in large part, to its energy-intensive industries such as chemical production and paper and plastic products. Ground-level ozone concentrations are at dangerous levels throughout the state.
Delaware, according to records of the Environmental Protection Agency, is one of the nation's leaders in releases of mercury, dioxin, polychlorinated biphenyls, and vinyl chloride, all among the most toxic substances released by industry. Among the companies most frequently named as the leading polluters in the United States, more than 50 percent of them now operate, or have operated, in Delaware. The state spent more than $29 million in 2007 cleaning up contaminated sites.
Carbon dioxide emissions from industry has decreased modestly from 1990 to 2004. Industry continues to be the state's leading consumer of energy, at almost 40 percent, which is nearly double that of the transportation sector. Most of that energy comes from fossil fuels. Transportation, saw only a slight decrease in CO2 emissions from 1990 to 2004. The state has taken some action to reduce emissions more substantially in the future. Delaware has a vehicle inspection and maintenance program that is in compliance with Clean Air Act policies. The state requires the statewide use of reformulated motor gasoline blended with ethanol, one of the few states to do so. The state's mass transit system is ranked the eighth best in the nation.
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