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.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says he supports a two-year ban on government regulators going to work for the oil and gas industry.
Salazar told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Thursday that a lifetime ban might be appropriate for some employees, depending on how high they are in the agency that regulates the industry. He made the comments under pointed questioning from Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who has criticized the practice of senior Interior employees going to work for the oil and gas industries.
The revolving door problem has gotten the attention of Congress, President Barack Obama and watchdog groups in the wake of the BP oil spill. Obama has promised to end the "cozy relationship" between the oil industry and federal regulators.