At the risk of sounding naive, how can petroleum pollute if it's a naturally-occurring substance?

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Don Barzini Profile
Don Barzini answered

The word 'pollution' should be thought of in the same way as the word 'corruption'. The introduction of the undesirable. 

(Cracking knuckles, clearing throat) 

When any entity (animal, vegetable or mineral) or element (liquid, solid or gas) is loosed into an environment in which it was neither formed nor intended, corruption (pollution) of that environment is almost inevitable. We use the term 'pollution' to describe the by-products of processes- trash, smoke, unsightliness, etc; but what you really have is material corruption of the natural (or working) balance of the surroundings.

Ancient Hippy Profile
Ancient Hippy answered

It pollutes when it's distilled, leeches into waterways and burned as fuel by humans.

KB Baldwin Profile
KB Baldwin answered

"Naturally occurring" does not mean benign.  For example arsenic, lead, uranium are all naturalluy occuring, but in concentrations become threatening to living orfganisms.   

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