The US ranks a mediocre 61st in the Environmental Performance Index

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"The United States places 61st in the 2010 EPI, with strong results on some issues, such as provision of safe drinking water and forest sustainability, and weak performance on other issues including greenhouse gas emissions and several aspects of local air pollution. This ranking puts the United States significantly behind other industrialized nations like the United Kingdom (14th), Germany (17th), and Japan (20th). Over 20 members of the European Union outrank the United States. The United States’ ranking does not reflect the recent policy activities of the Obama Administration, as the 2010 EPI builds on data from before 2009."

Read the full report here and check out Huffington Post's list of the 10 best, worst, and most notable nations in this year's rankings.

Every other year the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) is released at the World Economic Forum. It's a list of the greenest, cleanest nations (and the not-so-green) compiled by environmental experts from Yale and Columbia universities. The list indexes 163 countries and judges them on a scale of 0-100 on 25 different factors, compiled into the following categories: environmental health, air quality, water resource management, biodiversity and habitat, forestry, fisheries, agriculture, and climate change.

This year, Iceland ranked first with "high scores on environmental public health, controlling greenhouse gas emissions, and reforestation," according to the report. Not far behind were Switzerland, Costa Rica, and Sweden, "all of which have made substantial investments in environmental infrastructure, pollution control, and policies designed to move toward long-term sustainability."

What about the US? We ranked 61st, falling from 39th place in 2008's study. Why the decline? The EPI's press release stated:

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