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This Conservative Says The Ground Absorbs The Oil From Pipeline Spills

"Oil is a natural substance," she said.

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Sabrina Zuniga, a Conservative candidate in Toronto, made a point of mentioning in her interview with CPAC that she's a science teacher.

CPAC

When asked how she'd get young people to vote, she said: "I tell them that I'm here to champion research and innovation. Again, teaching science and teaching biology and chemistry in high school, this is a natural for me."

Later on in the segment, she talked about pipeline spills. "Oil is a natural substance," she said. "So spilling into the environment, the land will absorb it because that's what oil is."

Wait, what?

Here's the full quote:

A lot of people would like to see the pipeline get going and go through because it is a safer method than putting them on trains, for instance. And I come back to my interest in technology and innovation. We have the technology and — to keep the pipeline safe, to cut off if anything is going to spill. Oil is a natural substance. So spilling into the environment, the land will absorb it because that's what oil is. It's just when there is too much at once, that's when the difficulty comes in.

To be fair, some microbes can help break down specific types of oil over time. But that can be a very slow process: Some oils are easily biodegradable, while others are not. That also doesn't mitigate the immediate devastating effects of an oil spill on the environment.

In other words, oil spilled by pipelines doesn't just "absorb" into the ground. In fact, studies have found that spilled oil can linger for decades.

The Conservatives have been strong supporters of pipeline projects in Canada, notably Keystone XL, which awaits American approval.

Zuniga is running against the Liberals' Adam Vaughan and the NDP's Olivia Chow in Spadina—Fort York.

We've reached out to Zuniga and will update this post if we hear back.

Emma Loop is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. PGP fingerprint: 4A39 DD99 953C 6CAF D68C 85CD C380 AB23 859B 0611.

Contact Emma Loop at emma.loop@buzzfeed.com.

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