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Home Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's Frequently Asked Questions on Protecting Sensitive Information about Historic Properties under Section 304 of the National Historic Preservation Act
Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's Frequently Asked Questions on Protecting Sensitive Information about Historic Properties under Section 304 of the National Historic Preservation Act
Introduction. As a federal agency or other public official carries out its historic preservation responsibilities set forth in federal law and regulation, it often finds some kinds of information about historic properties should be protected from disclosure. There are several reasons for not releasing information about the location, character, or ownership of historic properties. For example, it may help prevent looting or disturbance of a site, or it may help ensure continued use of a site or area by traditional religious practitioners. As part of good planning practice, a federal agency should also begin thinking early about how it will manage and disseminate information generated in the course of review under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).
The principal federal laws that can protect sensitive information about historic properties and archaeological resources are Section 304 of the National Historic Preservation Act and Section 9 of the Archeological Resources Protection Act. While there is some overlap between these two statutes (as discussed below), each focuses on specific kinds of information that can be withheld from general disclosure, and the former is utilized more often in Section 106 review. The following "Frequently Asked Questions" were developed by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), in consultation with the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places Program, to address use of Section 304 to protect sensitive information about historic properties.