AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Two major chemical plant fires near Houston just 17 days apart closed schools, leaked toxic chemicals into coastal waters and killed a worker, but there’s a good chance they won’t lead to big industry crackdowns in oil-friendly Texas.

Federal investigators have yet to announce what caused either fire — the first in March that triggered shelter-in-place warnings amid elevated levels of benzene in the air and a second this week that left one worker dead and two others critically injured.

The blazes sent plumes of ominous black smoke billowing into the sky and drew widespread attention, but there are already signs that any new safeguards will be slow in coming, if they come at all. The fires haven’t slowed the progress of industry-backed bills that would, in the view of environmental…



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