Humbled: How California’s Monterey Bay Escaped Industrial Ruin
Talk of the Bay

 
 
00:00 /
 
1X
 

Authors Kathy McKenzie and Glenn Church talk about their new book and the history that led to the defeat of what would have been a giant industrial site in Moss Landing.

Today, Monterey Bay is a place of beauty and natural splendor, and is protected by federal law as a national marine sanctuary. It’s hard to believe that in the 1960s, plans called for a major industrial complex to be developed at the midpoint of the bay, starting with a refinery that Humble Oil intended as a linchpin of its West Coast operations.

The building permit sought by the powerful company became the focus of a bitter and protracted conflict that divided the region. Most people in Monterey County wanted the jobs and economic stability that big industry would bring. But a vocal minority fought back hard against the industrialization of the bay. The Monterey County Board of Supervisors approved the permit, but ultimately Humble would never start construction.

The controversy was one of the first major battles of the modern environmental movement, and garnered state and national attention, including coverage in the New York Times. It was a critical turning point for the