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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 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Buffalo Bayou National Heritage Area 
Study Act''.

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 
        States.
          (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 
        Channel.
          (7) The Buffalo Bayou developed a significant industrial 
        base, and served as the focal point for the new city of 
        Houston.
          (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 
        and revitalization.
  (b) Study.--
          (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 
                story;
                  (C) provides outstanding opportunities to conserve 
                natural, historic, cultural, or scenic features;
                  (D) provides outstanding recreational and educational 
                opportunities;
                  (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 
                heritage area;
                  (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 
                activity; and
                  (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 
``Buffalo Bayou''.
  (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 
Houston, Texas.

                  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.

                            committee action

    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 
budget.
    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 
apply.
    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 
Budget Office.

                    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 
tribal law.

                        changes in existing law

    If enacted, this bill would make no changes in existing 
law.