Senate Judiciary Committee advances bill to toughen anti-pollution law

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation would impose tougher penalties on polluters under legislation approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The bill would require restitution to victims when oil companies or others violate the Clean Water Act, the nation's primary law against water pollution. Currently, restitution is not mandatory.

Another provision would direct the U.S. Sentencing Commission to amend guidelines so that prison terms reflect the seriousness of an environmental crime.

The Environmental Crimes Enforcement Act was sent to the full Senate on Thursday. It would apply to offshore drilling accidents.