Colbert to Arkansas: That’s not even real oil sitting in your yards

By David Ferguson
Friday, April 5, 2013 8:12 EDT
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Colbert on Mayflower spill
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On Thursday night’s edition of “The Colbert Report,” host Stephen Colbert talked about the ruptured Exxon-Mobil pipeline in Mayflower, Arkansas.

While many residents of the neighborhood where the pipe burst may be unhappy to find themselves driven from their homes by an oil spill, Colbert urged them to take heart, because for legal and tax purposes, the stuff flowing through that pipeline isn’t even oil, it’s “diluted bitumen.”

Cleanup crews continue to struggle with the mess caused by the ruptured Pegasus pipeline, a tar-sands pipe that blew open last Friday, spilling hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil through a residential neighborhood. Hundreds have been evacuated to escape the health risks posed by crude oil and its fumes.

This oil spill is different, said Colbert, because it took place in the suburbs rather than in some pristine natural environment. Cleanup crews won’t be scrubbing down oil-soaked seals this time, said Colbert, “They’ll be scrubbing down oil-soaked Neils.”

But is the Pegasus rupture even an oil spill? For legal and tax purposes, the sticky black gunk flowing through the pipe isn’t classified as oil. It’s “diluted bitumen.”

“So, good news, Arkansas,” Colbert said. “You don’t have an oil spill. You have a bitumen spill! It’s merely a combination of heavy crude and sand mixed with light hydrocarbons that make it difficult to clean up because it sinks in water.”

“See?” he concluded. “Out of sight, out of mind, and into the drinking supply.”

Watch the video, embedded via Comedy Central, below:

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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