In the days after the West Fertilizer Co. plant exploded, the Office of the Texas State Chemist released a somewhat alarming figure: West was just one of nearly 600 fertilizer businesses in the state.
But a closer look at state and federal regulatory documents shows that the number of facilities most similar to the former West Fertilizer plant — namely plants that mix or blend fertilizer, including large amounts of dry ammonium nitrate — is relatively small.
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