Texas' Petrochemical Boom Fuels Hopes and Concerns

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FREEPORT — The largest chemical complex in the Western Hemisphere resembles a city of pipes and stacks. And Dow Chemical, its owner, is spending more than $4 billion to make it even larger.

“In terms of dollars, this is the biggest expansion since we built the place,” said Earl Shipp, vice president for Dow’s Texas operations, who works out of the vast Freeport facility that dates to 1940.

More Texas chemical plants — a dozen, at least — are also moving forward with new projects. The hydraulic fracturing technology that sparked a drilling frenzy around Texas and the nation has ...

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