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NEMA Welcomes House Approval of Helium Bill and Shifts Focus to Senate


04/26/2013 4:00PM

National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) welcomed passage today by the House of Representatives of legislation to reauthorize and improve operations of the Federal Helium Reserve in Texas. The House’s approval of HR 527, the Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act, by a vote of 394–1, represents a major step toward providing greater assurance to many members.

“Manufacturers of magnetic resonance imaging equipment, solid-state lighting, and arc-welding equipment need a stable supply of refined helium,” said NEMA President and CEO Evan R. Gaddis. “I commend House leaders for their wisdom and speed in bring forward some solutions for the challenges our companies face.”

U.S. users of helium acquire much of their supply via industrial gas refining companies associated with the Reserve, which currently holds approximately 30 percent of global supply of the gas but under current law would cease operations as early as this fall.

Now the focus shifts to the Senate, where on April 23 Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced the Helium Stewardship Act (S 783). A hearing on the bill is scheduled for May 7.

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NEMA is the association of electrical equipment and medical imaging manufacturers, founded in 1926 and headquartered in Rosslyn, Virginia. Its nearly 400 member companies manufacture a diverse set of products including power transmission and distribution equipment, lighting systems, factory automation and control systems, and medical diagnostic imaging systems. Total U.S. shipments for electroindustry products exceed $100 billion annually.

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