The National Park Service Centennial Act, the last piece of legislation passed by the 114th Congress, contains amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). The Act, signed by President Obama on December 16, amends the NHPA as follows:
- The chairperson of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) will now be a full time position that is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
- The General Chairman of the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (NATHPO) will now be a voting member of the ACHP.
Changes to the chairperson position will take effect January 20, 2017; however, the current chair will serve until an appointment is made and confirmed. Changes to the NATHPO are immediate since the President signed the bill.
Prior to the NHPA amendments, the ACHP chairperson position was part-time, and the General Chairman of NATHPO was an invited observer but could not vote on matters before the ACHP. Amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act passed in 1992 created Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPO) to serve the same role as State Historic Preservation Officers but on Tribal lands. There are currently 170 THPOs in the U.S.
In addition to amending the NHPA, the National Park Service Centennial Act extended authorization of the Historic Preservation Fund to 2023. The previous authorization, which provided funding through monies generated by Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas leases, expired in 2015.