Donna Christensen on Environment

Delegate to US House (VI-AL)


Prohibits commercial logging on Federal public lands.

Christensen co-sponsored prohibiting commercial logging on Federal public lands


    Congress finds the following:
  1. Forest Service polls show that a strong majority of the American people think that natural resources on Federal public lands should not be made available to produce consumer goods.
  2. Recreation and tourism in the National Forest System creates over 30 times more jobs, and generates over 30 times more income, than commercial logging on national forests.
  3. Timber cut from Federal public lands comprises less than 5% of US annual timber consumption.
  4. The vast majority of America's original pristine forests have been logged, and what little primary forest that remains exists almost entirely on public lands.
  5. It is in the interests of the American people and the international community to protect and restore native biodiversity in our Federal public lands for its inherent benefits.
  6. Commercial logging has many indirect costs which are very significant, but not easily measured, such as flooding damage, damage to the salmon fishing industry; and harm to the recreation and tourism industries.


LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to House Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness; never came to a vote.

Source: National Forest Protection and Restoration Act (H.R.1494) 01-HR1494 on Apr 4, 2001

Grants for beach water pollution under Clean Water Act.

Christensen co-sponsored grants for beach water pollution under Clean Water Act

Beach Protection Act of 2008 - Amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (popularly known as the Clean Water Act) to include among eligible grant activities the development and implementation of programs for source tracking, sanitary surveys, and prevention efforts to address the identified sources of beach water pollution. Requires grant recipients to identify:

  1. the use of a rapid testing method;
  2. measures for communication within 24 hours of the results of a water sample concerning pollutants to specified officials with authority to require the prevention or treatment of the sources of beach water pollution;
  3. measures to develop and implement a beach water pollution source identification and tracking program for the coastal recreation waters that are not meeting applicable water quality standards for pathogens; and
  4. a publicly accessible and searchable global information system database with information updated within 24 hours of its availability, organized by beach and with defined standards, sampling plan, monitoring protocols, sampling results, and number and cause of beach closing and advisory days.
  5. Legislative Outcome: Related bills: H.R.2537, S.1506. Senate Reports: 110-414.
    Source: Beach Protection Act (S.2844) 08-S2844 on Apr 10, 2008

    Add polar bear & bluefin tuna to endangered species list.

    Christensen signed H.RES.1420

      RESOLUTION Recognizing the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora on its 35th anniversary:
    • Recognizes the important contributions the Convention has made in regulating international trade in endangered species and protecting such species worldwide.
    • Recognizes the increasing importance of the Convention in addressing multiple and compounding threats on species and ecosystems arising from over-exploitation, habitat loss, invasive species, disease, and the effects of climate change.
    • Applauds the Convention's recent leadership in reaffirming strong protections for the African elephant, and other endangered species.
      Resolved, That the House of Representatives urges:
    1. renewed, expanded, and accelerated commitments to the Convention by all Parties to ensure the Convention's contribution to species conservation;
    2. the U.S. delegation to the Convention to utilize international cooperation to encourage other Parties to the Convention to collaborate effectively to curb excessive exploitation of species for international trade; and
    3. the Convention to adopt stronger protections for the polar bear, sharks, bluefin tuna, and other endangered species at the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties in 2013.
    Source: Resolution on CITES 10-HR140 on May 28, 2010

    Member of House Natural Resources Committee.

    Christensen is a member of the House Natural Resources Committee

    The U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, or Natural Resources Committee, has jurisdiction over issues of:

    • Fisheries and wildlife, including research, restoration, refuges, and conservation.
    • Forfeiture of land grants and alien ownership, including alien ownership of mineral lands.
    • United States Geological Survey.
    • International fishing agreements.
    • Interstate compacts relating to apportionment of waters for irrigation purposes.
    • Irrigation and reclamation, including water supply for reclamation projects and easements of public lands for irrigation projects; and acquisition of private lands when necessary to complete irrigation projects.
    • Native Americans generally, including the care and allotment of Native American lands and general and special measures relating to claims that are paid out of Native American funds.
    • Insular possessions of the United States generally (except those affecting the revenue and appropriations).
    • Military parks and battlefields, national cemeteries administered by the Secretary of the Interior, parks within the District of Columbia, and the erection of monuments to the memory of individuals.
    • Mineral land laws and claims and entries thereunder.
    • Mineral resources of public lands, including the Outer Continental Shelf.
    • Mining interests generally.
    • Mining schools and experimental stations.
    • Marine affairs, including coastal zone management (except for measures relating to oil and other pollution of navigable waters).
    • Oceanography.
    • Petroleum conservation on public lands and conservation of the radium supply in the United States.
    • Preservation of prehistoric ruins and objects of interest on the public domain.
    • Public lands generally, including entry, easements, and grazing thereon.
    • Relations of the United States with Native Americans and Native American tribes.
    • Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline (except ratemaking).
    Source: U.S. House of Representatives website, www.house.gov 11-HC-NRC on Feb 3, 2011

    Sponsored enforcing against illegal ocean fishing.

    Christensen co-sponsored International Fisheries Stewardship and Enforcement Act

    Congressional Summary:

      Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing Enforcement Act;:
    • Authorizes additional enforcement measures relating to search or inspection of facilities or conveyances, records inspection, shipment detention, arrest, search and seizure, and service of civil or criminal process.
    • Authorizes disclosing information internationally to ensure compliance, including international fishery agreements.
    • Requires identification and listing of nations that violate conservation and management measures required under an international fishery management agreement to which the US is a party.
    • Authorizes international cooperation and assistance, including grants, to help other nations achieve sustainable fisheries.

    Proponent's argument for bill:(by Mission Blue): Recognizing the growing threat posed by foreign illegal fishing, the International Fisheries Stewardship and Enforcement Act would safeguard U.S. ports, strengthen enforcement, and protect American fishing interests. Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing spans the globe, threatening legitimate fishing operations, undermining sustainable fisheries management, and stealing a vital resource from needy communities and the world economy. Criminal fishing worldwide is estimated to take $10 billion to $23.5 billion worth of seafood annually, or 11 million to 26 million tons of fish--three to six times more fish than the entire U.S. commercial fishing industry catches legally every year.

    Source: S.269 / H.R. 69 13-H0069 on Jan 3, 2013

    Require labeling genetically engineered food.

    Christensen signed Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act

    Congressional Summary:

    • [Require labeling] any food that has been genetically engineered or contains genetically engineered ingredients.
    • Defines "genetically engineered" (GE) as a material intended for human consumption that is an organism produced through the intentional use of genetic engineering, or its progeny, without regard to whether the altered molecular or cellular characteristics of the organism are detectable.

    Discussion of pro/con (Huffington Post 4/25/2013):

    Polls show that the overwhelming majority of Americans--over 90%--supports mandatory labeling of foods with GE ingredients. 64 other countries already require such labels. However, strong opposition from the agriculture and biotech industries has scuttled proposals for GMO (Genetically-Modified Organisms) labeling laws in the past. The most recent and high-profile of these failed attempts at a GMO labeling requirement was California's Proposition 37, which was narrowly defeated after opponents spent $50 million lobbying against it. "Unfortunately, advocates of mandatory GMO labeling are working an agenda to vilify biotechnology and scare consumers away from safe and healthful food products," a Biotechnology Industry Organization spokeswoman wrote.

    Argument in opposition (Food Democracy Now 5/26/2012):

    Exactly 20 years ago today, the first Bush administration declared genetically engineered foods to be "substantially equivalent" to foods that farmers had traditionally bred for thousands of years. With this single policy, the US government radically altered the food supply, introducing novel genes into our food that had never before been consumed by humans. Corporate executives at Monsanto colluded with elected officials to make sure that their new "products" were placed onto the market as quickly as possible. Two decades later, Americans are still denied the basic right to know what's in their food because of this infamous policy.

    Source: S.809/HR1699 14_H1699 on Apr 24, 2013

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