IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

The toxic cost of free shipping in California, Obama's impact on Biden and the first 'super moon'

Biden's infrastructure plan revives calls for a massive $26 billion coastal hurricane barrier in Texas.
An Amazon truck makes its way along Interstate 5, towards downtown Los Angeles on June 28, 2019.
As Amazon and Walmart warehouses arrived in Rialto, California, an area east of Los Angeles commonly known as the Inland Empire, the air quality severely diminished, locals say.Richard Vogel / AP file

Good morning, NBC News readers.

Unfortunately, free shipping does not mean pollution-free. This morning we're taking a closer look at a corner of California where as Amazon and Walmart warehouses have proliferated, air quality has worsened. Plus, more on how President Joe Biden's eight years in the White House with Barack Obama influenced his first 100 days in office. And the first "pink moon" of the year dazzles viewers.

Here's what we're watching this Tuesday morning.

'Treated like sacrifices': Families breathe toxic fumes from California’s warehouse hub

When Ana Gonzalez was recently driving through Rialto, California, where she has lived for 23 years, she saw a disturbing and increasingly familiar sight. Dozens of 18-wheel diesel trucks idled outside an Amazon warehouse, spewing fumes not far from a high school and homes.

The sight made her so angry because her son Jose suffers from bronchitis and asthma, illnesses a doctor told her were a direct result of local pollution.

Rialto is in an area east of Los Angeles commonly known as the Inland Empire, where warehouses that ship online orders from companies like Amazon and Walmart have proliferated in the last decade.

San Bernardino and Riverside County, which form the bulk of the Inland Empire, consistently rank as having the worst air pollution in the country, according to the American Lung Association.

"The industry is booming. But the cost is seen through people's asthma, people's cancer and the lack of good jobs," one local advocate.

Amazon defended its work in the Inland Empire region, citing the thousands of jobs they have created and its commitments to build an environmentally sustainable business.

Still, locals activists are pushing for new local authorities to adopt stricter air quality restrictions.

Tuesday's top stories

Image: President Barack Obama listens as Vice President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House on Jan. 30, 2009.
Joshua Roberts / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

How Obama's eight years shaped Biden's first 100 days

Both Barack Obama and Joe Biden inherited a crisis-ravaged economy — but their signature 100-day achievements look markedly different. The story of Biden's first 100 days mirrors the story of a Democratic Party changing course based on the lessons of the Obama era. By Sahil Kapur | Read more

The $26B 'Ike Dike' would protect Texas from hurricanes. It may be moving closer to reality.

For years, experts have warned that a direct strike from a major hurricane could send a 25-foot wall of water up the Houston Ship Channel, unleashing a humanitarian, economic and environmental disaster in a densely populated region that’s also home to the country’s largest concentration of petrochemical facilities. Now, as Biden pushes his massive infrastructure package, some members of Congress from Texas say it’s time to finally fund the $26 billion coastal barrier project, known informally as the "Ike Dike." By Mike Hixenbaugh | Read more

Biden's tricky China balancing act

The new administration’s strategy in dealing with Beijing's surging power is still taking shape as its 100-day mark nears. One expert described Biden's China policy as being in flux while officials "sort through the inheritance of the Trump administration and decide what will be discarded." By Carol E. Lee | Read more

OPINION: Quarantine didn't stop antisemitic attacks from rising. It just moved them online.

As the medical community raced to create vaccines and places of business adapted to remote work, bigots innovated, as well, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League writes in an opinion piece. By Jonathan A. Greenblatt | Read more

BETTER: Only have 10 minutes? Try one of these quick, but effective workouts

Tone your abs, butt and upper body with these routines from the trainers at Obé Fitness. By Brianna Steinhilber | Read more

Want to receive the Morning Rundown in your inbox? Sign up here.

Also in the news ...


New & notable releases include Casper’s cooling collection, Wet Ones hand sanitizer, a Polaroid camera and more.

One fun thing

The first supermoon of 2021 captivated viewers last night.

Supermoons, as they are known, are just full moons that are slightly closer to Earth than usual and happen a few times a year.

The spring supermoon is often referred to as a "pink moon," but it's pink in name only. The term comes from traditional Native American names for moons and refers to pink phlox that flowers in April.

Check out a video of it illuminating the night sky from India to Istanbul.

And if you missed this one, you can catch the next supermoon on May 26.

Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

If you have any comments — likes, dislikes — send me an email at:

If you'd like to receive this newsletter Monday to Friday, please sign-up here.

Thanks, Petra