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Calendar No. 664
110th Congress Report
2d Session 110-312
CESAR ESTRADA CHAVEZ STUDY ACT
April 10, 2008.--Ordered to be printed
Mr. Bingaman, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 359]
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was
referred the Act (H.R. 359) to authorize the Secretary of the
Interior to conduct a special study of sites associated with
the life of Cesar Estrada Chavez and the farm labor movement,
having considered the same, reports favorably thereon without
amendment and recommends that the Act do pass.
The purpose of H.R. 359 is to authorize the Secretary of
the Interior to conduct a special resource study of sites
associated with the life of Cesar Estrada Chavez and the farm
BACKGROUND AND NEED
H.R. 359 directs the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a
special resource study of sites associated with the life of
Cesar Estrada Chavez. Chavez was born on March 31, 1927 on a
small farm in Yuma, Arizona. At age 10, Chavez and his family
became migrant farm workers, laboring in fields across the
Southwest, enduring the hardships and injustices of farm worker
In 1952, Chavez left the fields and became a community
activist working for civil rights and social justice. In 1962,
he founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later
became the United Farm Workers of America, working for the
rights and protections of farm workers. Chavez died on April
H.R. 359 would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to
conduct a study to determine whether any of the sites
associated with Chavez's life meets the criteria for being
listed on the National Register of Historic Places or possible
designation as national historic landmarks.
H.R. 359, sponsored by Representative Solis, passed the
House of Representatives by a voice vote on July 10, 2007.
Companion legislation, S. 327, was introduced by Senators
McCain and Salazar on July 10, 2007. The Subcommittee on
National Parks held a hearing on both bills on September 11,
2007. (S. Hrg. 110-213.)
During the 109th Congress, the Committee held a hearing on
similar legislation (S. 670; S. Hrg. 109-74) although no
further action was taken.
During the 108th Congress, similar legislation (S. 164) was
reported by the Committee on March 19, 2003 (S. Rpt. 108-20)
and passed the Senate by unanimous consent on April 7, 2003. No
further action was taken in the House of Representatives.
At its business meeting on January 30, 2008, the Committee
on Energy and Natural Resources ordered H.R. 359 favorably
reported, without amendment.
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in an open
business session on January 30, 2008, by a voice vote of a
quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass H.R. 359.
Section 1 contains the short title the ``Cesar Estrada
Chavez Study Act.''
Section 2 authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to
complete a special resource study of sites in the State of
Arizona, the State of California, and other States significant
to the life of Cesar E. Chavez to determine appropriate methods
for preserving and interpreting the sites and to determine
whether any of the sites meets the criteria for listing on the
National Register of Historic Places or designation as a
National Historic Landmark. The Secretary is directed to
consult with relevant parties and provide a completed report of
the study to the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of
Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural
Resources of the Senate no later than 3 years after the date on
which funds are made available.
Section 3 authorizes the appropriations of such sums as are
necessary to carry out this Act.
COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS
The following estimate of costs of this measure has been
provided by the Congressional Budget Office:
H.R. 359--Cesar Estrada Chavez Study Act
H.R. 359 would direct the Department of the Interior to
conduct a study of sites in Arizona, California, and other
states that might be suitably preserved and used to commemorate
the life of Cesar Chavez and the farm labor movement. The study
also would determine whether any of the sites meet the criteria
for being listed in the National Register of Historic Places or
designated as a national historic landmark. The act would
authorize the appropriation of whatever amounts are necessary
for the study and would require the department to report on its
findings and recommendations within three years of receiving
Assuming the availability of appropriated funds, CBO
estimates that it would cost $250,000 over the next three years
to complete the required study and report. Enacting the
legislation would not affect revenues or direct spending.
H.R. 359 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
On May 7, 2007, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for H.R.
359 as ordered reported by the House Committee on Natural
Resources on May 2, 2007. The two versions of the legislation
are identical, as are the estimated costs.
The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Deborah Reis.
The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant
Director for Budget Analysis.
REGULATORY IMPACT EVALUATION
In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in
carrying out H.R. 359. The act is not a regulatory measure in
the sense of imposing Government-established standards or
significant economic responsibilities on private individuals
No personal information would be collected in administering
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal
Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the
enactment of H.R. 359, as ordered reported.
CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED SPENDING
H.R. 359, as reported, does not contain any congressionally
directed spending items, limited tax benefits, or limited
tariff benefits as defined in rule XLIV of the Standing Rules
of the Senate.
The testimony provided by the National Park Service at the
September 11, 2007 subcommittee hearing follows:
Statement of Daniel N. Wenk, Deputy Director, National Park Service,
Department of the Interior
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to present the
views of the Department of the Interior on S. 327 and H.R. 359,
bills to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a
special resource study of sites associated with the life of
Cesar Estrada Chavez and the farm labor movement.
The Department supports both bills, which are virtually
identical to each other and to legislation that we supported
during the 108th and 109th Congresses. While the Department
supports the authorization of this study, we also believe that
any funding requested should be directed first toward
completing previously authorized studies. We recommend a
technical amendment to S. 327, described later in this
This study will provide a good opportunity to work with the
Cesar E. Chavez Foundation and others to identify valuable
resources associated with the story of Chavez's life and the
movement he led and ways to protect those resources. Ask
historians to name one person who had the greatest impact on
farm labor, and the name of Cesar Estrada Chavez leaps to mind.
Between the 1950s and the 1980s Chavez cultivated a life-long
commitment to bringing respect, dignity, and democracy to the
nation's farmworkers, many of whom were Hispanic. After an
initial career as a community organizer, Chavez focused his
organizing skills on the farmworkers, inspiring them to look
their employers in the eyes, stand up for their rights and take
active roles in creating their union and wielding its power. As
a result of his efforts, he continues to serve as a symbol not
only for Hispanic-Americans, but for all Americans, of what can
be accomplished in this country through unified, courageous,
and nonviolent action.
Chavez's death on April 22, 1993, brought a resurgence of
interest in his life and work and a new wave of assessments
recognizing his national and, indeed, international
significance. He has taken his place among other national labor
leaders in the Department of Labor's Hall of Fame and been
recognized by an ever-increasing number of states and
communities with special holidays, events, and place names.
Because of the tremendous impact he had, we believe it is
appropriate to study sites associated with Cesar Chavez and the
farm labor movement he led in order to consider ways to
preserve and interpret this story of enormous social change.
The National Park Service and the Cesar E. Chavez
Foundation first discussed the possibility of conducting a
national historic landmark study of sites related to the work
of Chavez and the farmworkers' movement several years ago, as a
way of identifying sites important to the history of the man as
well as the migrant worker. The Foundation represents and
fosters the ongoing legacy of Chavez and has a strong interest
in seeing that heritage preserved. In 2002, the National Park
Service collaborated with the Foundation and scholars at
universities in Washington State and California in preparing a
preliminary assessment and scope for future research on sites
associated with Chavez and the farmworkers' movement. The
information gathered through that assessment would give the
National Park Service a head start on the study authorized by
S. 327 and H.R. 359.
The legislation would authorize a study of sites in
Arizona, California, and other States that are significant to
the life of Cesar Chavez and the farm labor movement in the
western United States to determine appropriate methods for
preserving and interpreting sites. Through this study, the
National Park Service could examine whether certain sites are
suitable and feasible for addition to the National Park System.
The study would be conducted in accordance with the criteria
for new area studies contained in Title III of the National
Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998.
The study also would consider whether any sites meet the
criteria for listing on the National Register of Historic
Places or for designation as a National Historic Landmark. This
would enable the National Park Service to complete the work
that was begun with the preliminary assessment described
earlier. The legislation specifically requires that the
National Park Service consult with the Cesar E. Chavez
Foundation, the United Farm Workers Union, and other entities
involved in historic preservation on this study. The study is
estimated to cost approximately $250,000.
If the committee acts on S. 327, we recommend amending it
on page 1, line 6 and on page 2, line 1 by inserting
``special'' before ``resource study'' to use the term for the
proposed study that is normally used for such studies and to
make it consistent with the title of the bill. H.R. 359 as
passed by the House includes this change, which the Department
recommended in testimony before the House Subcommittee on
National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands on March 29, 2007.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my testimony. I would be
pleased to answer any questions you or the other members of the
subcommittee may have.
CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW
In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no
changes in existing law are made by the Act H.R. 359, as