Sen. Sessions: BP 'not too big to fail'

By Dennis Washington

MOBILE, AL (WBRC) - Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions says BP should spend as much money as it takes to reimburse people affected by the oil spill, even if it means the company has to go out of business.

Sessions spoke to reporters Monday afternoon at a news conference in Mobile with Sen. Richard Shelby and Florida Sen. George LeMieux and Florida Rep. Jeff Miller.  He was answering a question about whether BP should be held financially responsible for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and how much the company should be required to pay when a reporter asked him what should happen if BP goes bankrupt.

"I would just say it this way: they're not too big to fail," Sessions said. "If they can't pay, and it takes everything they got, then they should cease to exist."

Sen. Richard Shelby then stepped up to the microphone to add his thoughts.

"I hope they don't go broke," Shelby said. "I hope they thrive, but in the meantime, there's a lot of resources and assets they have. They're going to have to step up."

BP has said it accepts full responsibility for the oil spilled as the result of its collapsed oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

Meanwhile, conflicting reports came out Monday about efforts to slow the flow of oil. A company spokesman said Monday morning the company had slowed the release of oil from the collapsed rig and was working on alternative efforts to either cap the oil well or funnel the oil through a special concrete dome into a barge at the surface.  However, Monday afternoon, another company spokesman said the previous report was wrong and the company had not yet found a way to reduce the oil flow from the collapsed oil rig.

BP also responded Monday to reports that it was asking fisherman to sign legal waivers to avoid lawsuits.  The company issued the following statement Monday night:

"We, BP, would like to thank all the fishermen who have come forward to assist in laying booms to try and protect the Gulf coast. We have assured local fishermen's association representatives that fishermen offering their services are not required to sign a waiver, in connection with equipment and training relating to this shore protection activity. Furthermore BP will not enforce any waivers that have hitherto been signed in connection with this activity."

As much as 200,000 gallons of oil per day was being released from the broken well.  However, the oil slowed its northward progression Monday towards the Alabama coastline as stormy weather helped break up the oil slick in the deep seas.  Heavy rain further inland was flowing back towards the Gulf, helping to keep the oil away from Mobile Bay.  

The U.S. Coast Guard said Monday afternoon they did not expect the oil to reach the Alabama coastline until at least Thursday.

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