News bites: Uncertainty about offshore drilling could prompt shift to tar sands, and more

Meanwhile, as lawmakers prepare to hash out the details of oil-spill response legislation, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) will introduce oil spill liability legislation next week.

“Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat, plans to introduce legislation next week that would increase liability in a Gulf of Mexico oil spill and may make all drilling companies share costs of potential damage,” Bloomberg reports.

“Landrieu’s legislation would create three categories of liability. The company responsible for the spill would pay as much as $250 million, and additional costs as high as $10 billion would be covered by a mutual insurance fund supported by companies in the Gulf. Damages exceeding $10 billion would be paid by the responsible party, Taylor Henry, Landrieu’s spokesman, said in an e-mail today.”

Also from Bloomberg, the co-chairman of the national oil spill commission said the oil industry is considering the panel's recommendation that it form its own drilling safety organization.

“The U.S. oil industry is giving serious consideration to creating a safety group to prevent catastrophes similar to BP Plc’s oil spill, said William Reilly, co-chairman of a U.S. panel that studied the disaster,” Bloomberg says.

And expect more United Nations climate meetings this year.

“The United Nations is likely to hold two extra meetings to discuss climate change in 2011 as the deadline to meet targets of Kyoto Protocol fast approaches in end-2012, a top United Nations official said on Wednesday,” according to Reuters.

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