U.S. Congress Passes the Helium Stewardship Act of 2013
October 02, 2013
DANBURY, Conn., October 2, 2013 – Through their unanimous passage of the Helium Stewardship Act of 2013 (H. Res. 527), the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives voted to avert the pending shutdown of the Federal Helium Reserve, which would have dramatically reduced and destabilized the global helium supply.
“The legislation passed by Congress secures the continued operation of the reserve, maintains access to a significant percentage of the world’s helium supply and ensures Praxair’s continued reliable delivery of helium to customers,” said Dr. Amer Akhras, Praxair’s general manager, Helium and Rare Gases. “We thank all of the members of the House and Senate who have worked diligently alongside helium refiners, distributors and end users to pass this critical legislation.”
The Act institutes a sales program with a transitional auction component that carefully winds down the Federal Helium Reserve. Provisions in the bill safeguard against supply chain disruptions, which could arise as an unintended consequence of an auction. As the Bureau of Land Management enters into rule-making, it will be necessary for those leading the process to develop guidelines in a manner consistent with the intentions of the bill.
Praxair has been an active participant in the Federal Helium Program since its inception, refining helium purchased from the reserve and distributing it to private and U.S. government end users in the medical, automotive and technology sectors. Helium is an essential component in the manufacture and operation of MRI machines, semiconductors, fiber optic cables and automotive airbags.
Praxair, Inc., a Fortune 250 company with 2012 sales of $11 billion, is the largest industrial gases company in North and South America and one of the largest worldwide. The company produces, sells and distributes atmospheric, process and specialty gases, and high-performance surface coatings. Praxair products, services and technologies are making our planet more productive by bringing efficiency and environmental benefits to a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, chemicals, food and beverage, electronics, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, metals and many others. More information about Praxair, Inc. is available at www.praxair.com.