The Dow Chemical Company has reported that inspection crews at sites owned or controlled by Dow or Union Carbide along the Gulf Coast have so far found no significant structural damage to any facilities as a result of Hurricane Rita. The company has now mobilized maintenance and operations teams to bring utilities back on line at seven sites along the Texas Gulf Coast as swiftly as possible. Safety and status assessments will continue throughout the start-up operation, a process that will take several weeks to complete. The supply of fuel gas and raw materials, and transportation logistics around the Gulf of Mexico-already significantly impacted as a consequence of Hurricane Katrina at the end of August-are expected to present a continuing challenge to industry throughout the region. Dow's sites at Freeport, Deer Park, Clear Lake and LaPorte, as well as the Union Carbide facilities in Texas City and Seadrift (and the Dow Haltermann site in Houston), were all safely shut down before dawn last Friday, 24 hours before Rita made landfall. The company's Houston business centers were also closed. Dow's sites in Louisiana (Plaquemine and St. Charles Operations in Hahnville) tracked the hurricane's path and took action as necessary in line with their established hurricane preparedness plans. Neither was required to shut down operations, but adjusted production rates as necessary.