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Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. THORNBERRY. Mr. Chairman, let me first commend and express my appreciation to Chairman Hastings and Mr. Holt and others who have worked on this legislation. Indeed, we have come a long way from the days when helium was essentially a government-run monopoly to this legislation, which helps bring in more market forces, more competition, more free enterprise, and, I think, will help move toward developing more supplies of helium in the future, as was just discussed on the last amendment.

It is in exactly that spirit that I offer this amendment which seeks to affirm the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to allow others who are not currently connected to the helium repository to connect to it and to store their helium there, assuming, of course, they've got to pay their own way. So whatever costs are incurred with allowing others to connect and to store, those costs have to be met by the individuals, not by the taxpayer.

But by doing that, I think we do at least take a step towards encouraging more helium supplies to be developed. And the side benefit is, as these other helium supplies are stored in the repository, that helps keep the pressure up in the dome so that, ultimately, more helium, government helium and private helium, can be extracted.

So I think this is perfectly in keeping with the theme of the bill. It moves in the right direction to encourage the expansion of more helium supplies, and I hope that the Members will consider it favorably.


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