On December 10, 2016, the U.S. Senate passed the National Park Service Centennial bill, HR 4680. The bill reauthorizes the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) for seven years (authorization expired in 2015) and now heads to President Obama's desk for his signature. The bill already passed the House. Although there are many uncertainties and challenges ahead for archaeology, the bipartisan effort of Congress to pass this bill is a positive development. The HPF provides for a relatively small portion of the royalties that energy companies pay for the right to drill for oil and natural gas on the federally owned Outer Continental Shelf to be used to preserve cultural resources, including archaeological sites, and fund State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs) and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPOs). For fiscal year 2016, Congress allocated $65.41 million to the HPF. Of this amount, $46.925 million was awarded to SHPOs and $9.985 million to THPOs. This bill only reauthorizes the HPF. It is now up to the new Congress to appropriate funds (provide dollars) for the programs supported by the HPF.


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