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No room at the Inn for Donna, Members of Congress

Feb. 16, 2005 –– Delegate Donna M. Christensen wanted her congressional colleagues to stop in the Virgin Islands this weekend on their way to national parks in Argentina and Brazil, but she couldn't find the needed 30 rooms on any of the islands. The delegate said she wanted to attend the annual St. Croix Agricultural Fair.
"President's Day weekend is a tough time and Hovensa has a lot of rooms for its catalytic cracker project," Christensen aide Brian Modeste said Wednesday.
Instead, the delegate and her colleagues on the House Resources Committee are heading off to Panama, Argentina, Brazil, and Trinidad and Tobago for the nine-day Congressional Delegation. Panama and Trinidad and Tobago are stopovers on the way south to visit the national parks and natural resources in those places.
The group is traveling by military plane, which Modeste said is usual on these types of trips.
Rep. Richard Pombo of California, a Republican, heads the trip.
"Oil, energy and environmental issues are his focus," Christensen said Wednesday.
She said she opposes Pombo efforts to weaken the Endangered Species Act.
Christensen is the ranking Democrat on the House Resources Committee's Subcommittee on National Parks and Public Lands. Modeste said her role on the subcommittee is why she is going. She was recently reappointed to the committee.
Christensen said the trip will be filled with official visits and trips to natural areas.
"We are going to meet with heads of state," she said.
The House Resources Committee has 46 members. Fifteen are going on the trip.
In other Washington news, Christensen said, in a news release, that she will again serve on the House Resources Committee, which oversees territorial and public land issues. Additionally, she's been reappointed to the House Small Business Committee, which oversees entrepreneurship and business activities, and to the House Homeland Security Committee.
"I am pleased to be able to continue my work on all three of these committees which oversee areas that are vital to the Virgin Islands," Christensen said.
She said all issues important to the Virgin Islands come through the Resources Committee. She said that her membership makes sure that residents' wishes are known and heard.
Christensen said that her membership on the Small Business Committee will help her find ways to stimulate the territory's economy, particularly that of St. Croix.
And she said that although the Homeland Security Committee membership was cut by a third, she was able to retain her seat.
"Being able to articulate the needs of the territories as part of the border of the nation has been fruitful for the Virgin Islands in the last Congress and I hope to continue that trend in this Congress," she said.
She was renamed to Small Business's Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform and Oversight, which oversees federal regulations on small business. Additionally, she was named to three Homeland Security subcommittees.
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