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In a new turn for the congressional response to the Gulf Coast oil spill, legislation introduced Wednesday would mandate restitution for victims of some environmental crimes.

The bill, sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is separate from other efforts to increase civil liability for spills. It would amend the section of the U.S. Code relating to when judges must impose restitution during sentencing. And it would direct the U.S. Sentencing Commission to review and amend the sentencing guidelines for crimes under the Clean Water Act.

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