Rep. Doc Hastings (R., WA) has introduced the Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act, which, among other things, seeks to bring more competition to the sale of helium located in the Federal Helium Reserve to businesses, researchers and manufacturing firms.
A summary of the bill is located after the jump.
Complete Consideration of H.R. 527 – Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act (Rep. Hastings (WA) – Natural Resources) The bill would extend the Department of the Interior’s authority to operate the Federal Helium Reserve and allow it to continue selling crude helium after the program's debt is repaid. If Congress fails to act, our nation’s helium supply could be disrupted, resulting in price spikes and supply shortages for American businesses, including high-tech manufacturing firms; scientific research; and federal agencies, such as NASA. It requires that subsequent helium sales be made by the Secretary through a competitive auction system, allowing the price of federally-owned helium to be set by on supply & demand and maximizing the return to taxpayers. It also modifies the federal helium program to increase price transparency and promote greater competition in the private helium market by giving new refiners access to the federal helium reserve pipeline. The bill also provides protection for federal researchers, by phasing-out the federal reserve and ending private sales when reserves decline to 3 billion cubic feet of helium. Remaining helium would be reserved for federal agencies for medical and scientific uses.