In steps US News and World Report, hardly a conservative magazine:
Policymakers have implemented a number of regulations over the past half-century to ensure a safe relationship between people and their environment. Under the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency regulates air pollution. Similarly, the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act ensure that states properly dispose of pollutants at treatment plants and that public drinking water meets federal standards.How does oh-so-progressive California rank?
These laws not only help preserve the nation's natural resources, but they protect the public from harmful toxins and resulting health concerns that affect their quality of life.
In addition to a healthy environment, a person's quality of life is largely a result of their interactions with those around them. Studies show that when people feel socially supported, they experience greater happiness, as well as physical and mental health.
North Dakota and Minnesota are the most effective at promoting their citizens' well-being by providing both a healthy environment and a sense of social connectedness. Other top states include Wisconsin, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Mississippi.
Update, 10/15/18: The weather in San Diego is nice, so California has that going for it. But what merits that poor ranking above? Maybe it's something related to this:
Today California is creating a feudalized society characterized by the ultra-rich, a diminishing middle class and a large, rising segment of the population that is in or near poverty.Overall our state state now suffers one of the highest GINI rates — the ratio between the wealthiest and the poorest—among the states, and the inequality is growing faster than in almost any state outside the Northeast, notes liberal economist James Galbraith. The state’s level of inequality now is higher than that of Mexico, and closer to that of Central American banana republics like Guatemala and Honduras than it is to developed states like Canada and Norway.
California, adjusted for costs, has the overall highest poverty rate in the country, according to the United States Census Bureau. A recent United Way study showed that close to one in three of the state’s families are barely able to pay their bills. Overall, 8 million Californians live in poverty, including 2 million children, a number that according to a recent report, has risen since the Great Recession, despite the boom.