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Irma strengthens into Category 5 hurricane, nears Caribbean

Hurricane Irma heads northwestHurricane Irma grew into a dangerous Category 5 storm, the most powerful seen in the Atlantic in over a decade, and roared toward islands in the northeast Caribbean Tuesday on a path that could eventually take it to the United States.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Irma was a "potentially catastrophic" storm with maximum sustained winds of 180 mph (285 kph) as it bore down on the twin-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda. It was centered about 225 miles (365 kilometers) east of Antigua in the late morning and moving west at 14 mph (22 kph).

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Warnings Issued as Hurricane Irma Strengthens

Hurricane IrmaThe newest hurricane that could threaten North America intensified Monday morning, though its future path remains uncertain.

As of 8 a.m. ET, Hurricane Irma was about 610 miles (980 kilometers) east of the Leeward Islands, the National Hurricane Center said. It's packing maximum sustained winds of 120 mph (195 kph) as it headed west-northwest at 14 mph (22 kph).

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The Latest: California wildfire reaches giant sequoia grove

California wildfiresAuthorities say a fire burning near Yosemite National Park has entered a 2,700-year-old grove of giant sequoias.

California fire officials said Saturday the wildfire entered the Nelder Grove late Friday night.

Giant sequoias are among the largest and longest-lived organisms on Earth.

The Nelder grove holds 106 of them, including one of the world's largest, the 24-story-high Bull Buck sequoia.

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How a Corporate Assault on Greenpeace Is Spreading

GreenpeaceGreenpeace should be worried. A second large company has accused the prominent environmental group of violating the potent U.S. racketeering law. In a lawsuit filed August 22, Energy Transfer Partners accused Greenpeace of spreading lies and inciting vandalism to raise money and hamper completion of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.

The legal attack follows a similar suit against Greenpeace brought last year on behalf of the Canadian timber company Resolute Forest Products Inc.

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New York state's final chance to stop fracking is slipping away

NY state fracking ban slipping awayNew York banned fracking in 2014, Maryland recently followed suit, and local ordinances to limit it have been passed in 22 states. But a fracking expansion juggernaut is subverting state and local attempts to keep fracking’s negative impacts out.

The federal fix is in, with the Trump administration ramming through project approvals and reversing Obama’s initiatives to regulate fracking’s air and water impacts and methane leakage.

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Interior recommends Trump shrink national monuments

Ryan Zinke to shrink national monumentsInterior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Thursday he's asking President Trump to shrink “a handful” of national monuments that previous presidents designated to protect land and water.

In a formal report he’s sending to Trump on Thursday, Zinke will not ask the president to eliminate any of the 27 protected areas that were under review since an April executive order, he told The Associated Press.

He did not specify the changes he is recommending in the AP interview. But he said any areas removed from national monuments would remain under federal control and public access would either stay the same or improve.

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Thawing Alaska permafrost alarms scientists

thawing Alaska permafrost alarms scientistsAs the planet's temperatures continue what appears to be a steady march upward, scientists in northern Alaska are watching the ground beneath them melt away.

Now, a group of researchers is taking core samples of the ground to better understand what the effects of this process could be, according to The New York Times.

Much of the permafrost that blankets Alaska and other similarly cold northern regions of the planet is slowly thawing, changing the landscape and affecting the ecosystem in a number of ways.

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