New chief of Texas oil and gas commission believes Trump will bring welcome change

Christi Craddick, who on Tuesday was elected new chairman of the Railroad Commission, said she welcomes the change she expects from President-elect Donald Trump.

“They at least get us, I hope, as an industry,” Craddick said of the incoming administration. Trump has promised to roll back federal regulations that under the Obama presidency have targeted the industry’s fossil fuel emissions, among other things.

Craddick replaces David Porter, who chose not to seek re-election and whose six-year term ends Dec. 31. Former state lawmaker Wayne Christian was elected in November to fill Porter’s seat on the commission.

At Tuesday’s commission meeting, Porter reflected on his efforts to battle federal overreach in Texas. By keeping federal regulation at bay, Porter said, Texas was allowed to take full advantage of innovations in oil and gas drilling and ride the oil boom to its height.

The commission, which regulates the state’s oil and gas industry, has tried to reduce federal and state regulations. For instance, last month the commission changed its requirements for wells to be considered active. Now, oil wells only have to produce one barrel of oil per month for a year to be considered active; the previous regulation required 10 barrels a month for three-straight months.

As Craddick starts her fifth year as a commissioner, she said she hopes to close some holes in the commission’s budget and increase the number of well and pipeline inspectors.