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Ruptured Oil Pipe Sends 877,000 Gallons of Crude Oil into Kalamazoo River, Threatening People and Wildlife

The spill is believed to be the largest in the history of the Midwest.

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"This isn't just one incident anymore," Korpalski said. "We need to move to clean energy and get away from dirty fuels."

For now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is attempting to create a center to clean wildlife harmed by the Michigan oil spill. Mary Dotloff indicated that a collaborative information center may be set up in Lansing, in coordination with the Michigan State Police, to ensure that information about the spill stays current and accurate. There is also a hotline set up for people to call if they have information or concerns about the spill (800-306-6837). The Red Cross is offering refuge to those who need to get away from the fumes, but can't afford a hotel room. And an overwhelming number of volunteers are calling the hotline and showing up to the Michigan shoreline, ready to help with anything they can. This, even while carrying the personal impact of the spill.

"I was out there talking to people today, and people are really devastated," Korpalski said. "It's tough to articulate to the public just how awful it is. The smell itself is so awful, so pungent."

If ever there was a moment for local, state, and federal environmentalism to transcend its default role as a crisis-response strategy, and instead to become integrated as an intentional and celebrated way of life -- it is now.

Anna Clark's writing has appeared in The American Prospect , Utne Reader , Hobart, Writers' Journal , Bitch, Religion Dispatches, Common Dreams, The Women's International Perspective, Women's eNews, ColorLines, RH Reality Check, The Millions, make/shift, and BloodLotus, among other publications. She is the editor of the literary and social justice Web site, Isak.

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