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107th Congress Report
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
1st Session 107-256
BUFFALO BAYOU NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA STUDY ACT
October 30, 2001.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the
State of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. Hansen, from the Committee on Resources, submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 1776]
The Committee on Resources, to whom was referred the bill
(H.R. 1776) to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to study
the suitability and feasibility of establishing the Buffalo
Bayou National Heritage Area in west Houston, Texas, having
considered the same, report favorably thereon with an amendment
and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.
The amendment is as follows:
Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``Buffalo Bayou National Heritage Area
SEC. 2. NATIONAL PARK SERVICE STUDY REGARDING BUFFALO BAYOU, TEXAS.
(a) Findings.--The Congress finds the following:
(1) The area beginning at Shepherd Drive in west Houston,
Texas, and extending to the Turning Basin, commonly referred to
as the ``Buffalo Bayou'', made a unique contribution to the
cultural, political, and industrial development of the United
(2) The Buffalo Bayou is distinctive as the first spine of
modern industrial development in Texas and one of the first
along the Gulf of Mexico coast.
(3) The Buffalo Bayou played a significant role in the
struggle for Texas independence.
(4) The Buffalo Bayou developed a prosperous and productive
shipping industry that survives today.
(5) The Buffalo Bayou led in the development of Texas'
petrochemical industry that made Houston the center of the
early oil boom in America.
(6) The Buffalo Bayou developed a sophisticated shipping
system, leading to the formation of the modern day Houston Ship
(7) The Buffalo Bayou developed a significant industrial
base, and served as the focal point for the new city of
(8) There is a longstanding commitment by the Buffalo Bayou
Partnership, Inc., to complete the Buffalo Bayou Trail along
the 12-mile segment of the Buffalo Bayou.
(9) There is a need for assistance for the preservation and
promotion of the significance of the Buffalo Bayou as a system
for transportation, industry, commerce, and immigration.
(10) The Department of the Interior is responsible for
protecting the Nation's cultural and historical resources.
There are significant examples of such resources within the
Buffalo Bayou region to merit the involvement of the Federal
Government in the development of programs and projects, in
cooperation with the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, Inc., the State
of Texas, and other local and governmental entities, to
adequately conserve, protect, and interpret this heritage for
future generations, while providing opportunities for education
(1) In general.--The Secretary shall, in consultation with
the State of Texas, the City of Houston, and other appropriate
organizations, carry out a study regarding the suitability and
feasibility of establishing the Buffalo Bayou National Heritage
Area in Houston, Texas.
(2) Contents.--The study shall include analysis and
documentation regarding whether the Study Area--
(A) has an assemblage of natural, historic, and
cultural resources that together represent distinctive
aspects of American heritage worthy of recognition,
conservation, interpretation, and continuing use, and
are best managed through partnerships among public and
private entities and by combining diverse and sometimes
noncontiguous resources and active communities;
(B) reflects traditions, customs, beliefs, and
folklife that are a valuable part of the national
(C) provides outstanding opportunities to conserve
natural, historic, cultural, or scenic features;
(D) provides outstanding recreational and educational
(E) contains resources important to the identified
theme or themes of the Study Area that retain a degree
of integrity capable of supporting interpretation;
(F) includes residents, business interests, nonprofit
organizations, and local and State governments that are
involved in the planning, have developed a conceptual
financial plan that outlines the roles for all
participants, including the Federal Government, and
have demonstrated support for the concept of a national
(G) has a potential management entity to work in
partnership with residents, business interests,
nonprofit organizations, and local and State
governments to develop a national heritage area
consistent with continued local and State economic
(H) has a conceptual boundary map that is supported
by the public.
(c) Boundaries of the Study Area.--The Study Area shall be comprised
of sites in Houston, Texas, in an area roughly bounded by Shepherd
Drive and extending to the Turning Basin, commonly referred to as the
(d) Submission of Study Results.--Not later than 3 years after funds
are first made available for this section, the Secretary shall submit
to the Committee on Resources of the House of Representatives and the
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate a report
describing the results of the study.
purpose of the bill
The purpose of H.R. 1776 is to authorize the Secretary of
the Interior to study the suitability and feasibility of
establishing the Buffalo Bayou National Heritage Areas in west
background and need for legislation
The Buffalo Bayou has played an important role in the
history of Houston and therefore in the history of Texas in
general. In the 1820s, when immigration to Texas commenced,
Buffalo Bayou was considered the most reliable route for
navigation into the ``interior'' of Texas. The Houston Ship
Channel permits ocean-going ships to travel fifty miles inland
from the Gulf of Mexico. Today, the port ranks first in the
nation in foreign shipping and ranks second in tonnage, serving
as home to the country's largest concentration of oil refining
and petrochemical production.
The Buffalo Bayou, nicknamed the ``Highway of the
Republic,'' is nationally significant in American military
history. The Battle of San Jacinto was fought in 1836 at the
confluence of Buffalo Bayou and the San Jacinto River. This
resulted in the independence of Texas from Mexico and
ultimately led to the expansion of the United States into the
northern half of Mexico in 1848.
A multitude of historic sites, early ethnic neighborhoods
and some of Houston's oldest park areas line the banks of the
Buffalo Bayou. The Buffalo Bayou National Heritage Area would
highlight important military leaders, oil wildcatters, and
industrial titans, along with providing the city an opportunity
to highlight the lives of early Mexican American and Afro-
American residents who lived along the Bayou, and worked in the
early rail yards and in the Port of Houston.
The Buffalo Bayou is considered by many a significant
natural and recreational resource. Several segments have been
designated as part of the world-famous Great Coastal Texas
Birding Trail. More than 15 miles of hiking and biking trails
line its banks.
H.R. 1776 was introduced on May 9, 2001, by Congressman
Gene Green (D-TX). The bill was referred to the Committee on
Resources, and within the Committee to the Subcommittee on
National Parks, Recreation and Public Lands. On July 17, 2001,
the Subcommittee held a hearing on the bill. On September 25,
2001, the Subcommittee met to mark up the bill. Congressman
George Radanovich (R-CA) offered an amendment in the nature of
a substitute that specified criteria the Secretary shall
consider in the development of the study, removed the
appropriations authorization, and added the standard three-year
time limit for completing the study. The amendment was offered
to make the study consistent with the requirements specified in
Section 303 of Public Law 105-391, which requires studies of
new areas to consider whether the area under study possesses
nationally significant natural or cultural resources and
representsone of the most important examples of a particular
resource type in the country, and is a suitable and feasible addition
to the system. It was adopted by voice vote. The bill, as amended, was
then ordered favorably reported to the Full Committee by voice vote. On
October 3, 2001, the Full Resources Committee met to consider the bill.
No further amendments were offered and the bill as amended was ordered
favorably reported by voice vote to the House of Representatives.
committee oversight findings and recommendations
Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the
Committee on Resources' oversight findings and recommendations
are reflected in the body of this report.
constitutional authority statement
Article I, section 8 of the Constitution of the United
States grants Congress the authority to enact this bill.
compliance with house rule xiii
1. Cost of Legislation.--Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be
incurred in carrying out this bill. The Committee believes that
enactment of this bill would have minimal impact on the federal
2. Congressional Budget Act.--As required by clause 3(c)(2)
of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and
section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, this
bill does not contain any new budget authority, spending
authority, credit authority, or an increase or decrease in
revenues or tax expenditures.
3. General Performance Goals and Objectives.--This bill
does not authorize funding and therefore, clause 3(c)(4) of
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives does not
4. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate.--Under clause
3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of
Representatives and section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act
of 1974, the Committee has requested but not received a cost
estimate for this bill from the Director of the Congressional
compliance with public law 104-4
This bill contains no unfunded mandates.
preemption of state, local or tribal law
This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or
changes in existing law
If enacted, this bill would make no changes in existing