Stephen Colbert knocked the train industry and Environmental Protection Agency during Monday evening’s “The Late Show” monologue after reports found that shipments of contaminated soil and water from the East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment were sent to Michigan and Texas without warning.
“No surprise, Michigan and Texas weren’t happy with the surprise. So the EPA stopped the shipments of toxic waste and the new plan is to schlep it back to various locations in Ohio, including the town of East Liverpool, which is literally on the Ohio river. Not the best containment plan,” Colbert said, before mocking: “All right everybody, it’s safe to go back in the pool. We scooped the diaper out of the deep end and we placed it safely at the top of the water slide. All right, everybody in.”
Colbert emphasized that the most disturbing part of the story is that “not telling people where hazardous waste is going is standard operating procedure.”
“Even Ohio governor Mike DeWine was not briefed on where in the country the shipments would be sent, which, reportedly, is typical. And a Texas official who was outraged to receive a surprise shipment noted that there’s no legal requirement for her office to be notified,” Colbert said. “Good Lord, does the train industry have any rules? Is ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ an instructional video?”
President Joe Biden, who has not visited the crash site in Ohio since the derailment happened almost a month ago, was asked by reporters on Friday about whether he plans to travel there.
“I was not – I did a whole video – I mean, you know the – what the hell – on Zoom,” Biden replied. “All I can hear every time I think of Zoom is that song of my generation, ‘Who’s Zoomin’ Who?’”
“Really? We all go up on words every so often but ‘Who’s Zoomin’ Who?’ is the song of your generation?” Colbert joked. “Aretha Franklin’s ‘Who’s Zoomin’ Who?’ came out in 1985 sir. The song of your generation is ‘Gregorian Chant.'”
Watch Colbert’s full monologue in the video above.