Commissioner David Porter was unanimously elected chairman of the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC). Commissioner Christi Craddick said at the RRC's Tuesday meeting, "I am pleased to turn over the responsibilities of chairman to my colleague Commissioner David Porter. After working alongside him for the past two and a half years, I know his knowledge, steady approach, and dedication to the agency will guide his leadership and keep the Commission on a path toward an even stronger future." Porter said of the RRC, "...it is our job to make sure industry produces efficiently and economically, and does so in the safest, most responsible manner possible. We meet our responsibilities at the commission -- we've been doing it for over a century -- and I am honored to serve as chairman during this important time for our state."
Former BP plc executive David Rainey, accused of making false statements to investigators regarding the amount of oil gushing from the Macondo well blowout in 2010, was found not guilty on Friday by a federal court in New Orleans. Rainey, the highest ranking BP executive facing charges related to Macondo, was facing up to five years in prison. He was accused of intentionally underestimating the amount of oil flowing from the Macondo well, and "allegedly cherry picked pages from documents, withheld other documents altogether and lied to Congress and others in order to make the spill appear less catastrophic than it was" (see Daily GPI, Nov. 16, 2012). Defense argued that estimates were made honestly and Rainey had no reason to lie. Presiding U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt said he agreed with the verdict. During a pre-trial hearing in May 2013, Englehardt had dismissed the congressional obstruction charge against Rainey (see Daily GPI, May 22, 2013). The ruling was overturned last year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (see Daily GPI, June 30, 2014). With the ruling returned to his court, Englehardt dismissed the charge again June 1 because he said members of Congress, including Sen.Ed Markey (D-MA), could not be subpoenaed to testify. Markey's inquiry had led to the obstruction charge.