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FEMA’s plan underestimated Puerto Rican hurricane

FEMA underestimated Hurrican

The federal government significantly underestimated the potential damage to Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria and relied too heavily on local officials and private-sector entities to handle the cleanup, according to a POLITICO review of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s plan for the disaster.

The plan, which was developed by a FEMA contractor in 2014 in anticipation of a catastrophic storm and utilized by FEMA when Maria hit last September, prepared for a Category 4 hurricane and projected that the island would shift from response to recovery mode after roughly 30 days. In fact, Hurricane Maria was a “high-end” Category 4 storm with different locations on the island experiencing Category 5 winds. More than six months after Maria made landfall, the island is just beginning to shift to recovery mode.

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Workers' radiation exposure halts nuke plant demolition

Workers demolishing nuclear plant exposed to radiationSeven decades after making key portions of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation are being exposed to radiation as they tear down buildings that helped create the nation's nuclear arsenal.

Dozens of workers demolishing a plutonium processing plant from the 1940s have inhaled or ingested radioactive particles in the past year, and even carried some of that radiation into their vehicles.

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Magnitude-5.3 earthquake rattles Los Angeles, southern California

5.3 earthquake of coast of LA

A magnitude-5.3 earthquake rattled southern California on Thursday, shaking buildings in the Los Angeles area.

The quake was centered in the Pacific Ocean, some 35 miles southeast of Channel Islands Beach, Calif., the U.S. Geological Survey said. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

At the USA TODAY bureau in west Los Angeles, the earthquake started slowly as a rolling motion. The quake wasn’t strong enough, however, to cause items to fall off desks.

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Another season, another historic low for Arctic wintertime sea ice

Arctic sea ice at another historic lowThe maximum extent of the Arctic's wintertime sea ice, reached last week, marked another historic low. According to the latest analysis, it was the second lowest since satellites began tracking the phenomenon 39 years ago.

Every year, the Arctic's sea ice grows in the winter and shrinks in the summer, reaching two extents, a maximum and a minimum. In recent years, both extents have been increasingly small.

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World's largest collection of ocean garbage is now twice the size of Texas

Ocen garbage

The world's largest collection of ocean garbage is growing.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a collection of plastic, floating trash located halfway between Hawaii and California, has grown to more than 600,000 square miles, a study published Thursday finds. That's twice the size of Texas.

Winds and converging ocean currents funnel the garbage into a central location, said study lead author Laurent Lebreton of the Ocean Cleanup Foundation, a non-profit organization that spearheaded the research.

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World’s great forests could lose half of all wildlife as planet warms – report

Wildlife to disappear at a catastrophic rate in Amazon because of earth's warming

The world’s greatest forests could lose more than half of their plant species by the end of the century unless nations ramp up efforts to tackle climate change, according to a new report on the impacts of global warming on biodiversity hotspots.

Mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds are also likely to disappear on a catastrophic scale in the Amazon and other naturally rich ecosysterms in Africa, Asia, North America and Australia if temperatures rise by more than 1.5C, concludes the study by WWF, the University of East Anglia and the James Cook University.

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Trump drilling plan faces backlash

Interior Ryan Zinke faces drilling backlashh

The oil industry has been put on the defensive in the fight over the Trump administration’s plan to expand offshore drilling.

The backlash against Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s decision to consider oil and natural gas drilling nearly everywhere along the nation’s coasts has been fierce and bipartisan.

Drilling opponents have dominated the public conversation since the plan was released in January. Meanwhile, almost all of the Atlantic and Pacific coast governors have come out in opposition to the plan, spurring Zinke to remove Florida’s waters just days after the plan was released.

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