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NEMA Welcomes Legislation on Federal Helium Policy


4/26/2012 5:04 PM

ROSSLYN, Va.—NEMA welcomed introduction today of the Helium Stewardship Act (S 2374) by Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and John Barrasso (R-WY), which will modernize and reform federal policy to better secure future supplies of helium for U.S. industry and government uses. Current law, last updated in 1996, has contributed to a distorted market and uncertainty for commercial, federal, medical, and scientific users of helium.

“We commend Sen. Bingaman and Sen. Barrasso for their leadership in introducing the Helium Stewardship Act,” said NEMA President and CEO Evan Gaddis. “Manufacturers of magnetic resonance imaging equipment and arc-welding equipment need a stable supply of refined helium. Passage of this legislation will help make that happen.

“NEMA and its member companies look forward to working with the senators to build support for the proposal and secure its approval by Congress and the president this year,” Gaddis added.

U.S. users of helium acquire much of their supply via the Federal Helium Reserve located just outside Amarillo, Texas. As proposed, the Helium Stewardship Act would direct the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of the Department of the Interior to continue to sell crude helium from the reserve to refiners beyond January 1, 2015. The act would direct BLM to adopt market-based prices for those sales to stimulate further private development of helium sources such as from natural gas exploration and production.

NEMA is the association of electrical equipment manufacturers, founded in 1926 and headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. Its 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. Worldwide annual sales of NEMA-scope products exceed $120 billion.



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