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More than 160 Chemical Plants Lie in Rita's Path

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.

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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Jack Speer
Jack Speer is a newscaster at NPR in Washington, DC. In this role he reports, writes, edits, and produces live hourly updates which air during NPR programming.