Read the full story at Grist.
Just a few decades ago, California’s Inland Empire billed itself as “the Orange Empire” for the citrus orchards that fueled its primary industry. Today, many of those groves are gone, and so is the nickname. The landlocked region of 4 million people an hour east of Los Angeles now sprouts more enormous warehouses (a billion square feet of them) than fruit trees.
Forty percent of the nation’s consumer goods — iPhones, sneakers, and everything available from Amazon — spend time sitting on those warehouse shelves after coming off ships at nearby ports, awaiting delivery to stores and homes. What was once a mostly rural region finds itself struggling with a high poverty rate and growing population. Residents are plagued by tremendous traffic and air pollution, which recently earned the region an “F” from the American Lung Association.
Those environmental and health concerns will get much worse, advocates say, if the city of Moreno Valley — a town of 200,000 located in the heart of the Inland Empire — builds the largest warehouse project anywhere in the country.