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More than 160 Chemical Plants Lie in Rita's Path

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More than 160 Chemical Plants Lie in Rita's Path

Environment

More than 160 Chemical Plants Lie in Rita's Path

More than 160 Chemical Plants Lie in Rita's Path

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4859529/4859677" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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As Hurricane Rita heads toward the Gulf Coast, much of Texas' oil and chemical industry is shutting down in preparation for the storm. Nearly 28 percent of the nation's refinery capacity lies in Rita's path. (Click enlarge for full map). API hide caption

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As Hurricane Rita heads toward the Gulf Coast, much of Texas' oil and chemical industry is shutting down in preparation for the storm. Nearly 28 percent of the nation's refinery capacity lies in Rita's path. (Click enlarge for full map).

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The Texas Gulf Coast, now threatened by Hurricane Rita, is home to about half of the nation's chemical manufacturing capacity. There are more than 160 chemical plants potentially in Rita's path. Most are in the process of shutting down.

More than 200 hazardous waste repository and handling sites — including seven Superfund sites — are located in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. The map above shows just those sites located in New Orleans and its environs. Some worry that Hurricane Rita will compound the environmental challenges already facing the region after Katrina.

Industry officials say the plants have been designed to withstand hurricane winds of up to 200 mph, but environmental groups have expressed concern.

Most plants in the Texas Gulf Coast region are in the process of shutting down. Dow Chemical is closing its plants in the region, including a massive 5,000-acre facility in Freeport, Texas.

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