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Text of the Helium Act of 1994

This bill was introduced on July 27, 1994, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Aug 3, 1994 (Reported by House Committee).

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HR 3967 RH

Union Calendar No. 358

103d CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 3967

[Report No. 103-661]

To amend the Helium Act to prohibit the Bureau of Mines from refining helium and selling refined helium, to dispose of the United States helium reserve, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

MARCH 8, 1994

Mr. LEHMAN (for himself, Mrs. VUCANOVICH, and Mr. MILLER of California) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources

August 3, 1994

Additional sponsors: Mr. MURPHY, Mr. LIPINSKI, Mr. DEFAZIO, Ms. DANNER, Mr. DICKEY, Mr. HANSEN, Mr. THOMAS of Wyoming, Mr. HOLDEN, Mr. BARLOW, Mr. JOHNSON of South Dakota, Mr. DOOLITTLE, Mr. HEFLEY, Mr. KLEIN, Mr. ALLARD, Mr. HUGHES, Mr. DUNCAN, Mr. SKEEN, Mr. WYNN, Mr. BARRETT of Wisconsin, Mrs. JOHNSON of Connecticut, Mr. ROBERTS, Mr. BLUTE, Mr. FRANKS of Connecticut, Mr. ZELIFF, Mr. FRANKS of New Jersey, Mr. BERMAN, Mr. POMBO, Mr. GALLEGLY, Mr. CALVERT, Mr. MCINNIS, Mr. COPPERSMITH, Mr. MCHALE, and Mr. Saxton

August 3, 1994

Reported with an amendment, committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union, and ordered to be printed

[Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed in italic]

[For text of introduced bill, see copy of bill as introduced on March 8, 1994]


A BILL

To amend the Helium Act to prohibit the Bureau of Mines from refining helium and selling refined helium, to dispose of the United States helium reserve, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Helium Act of 1994’.

SEC. 2. AMENDMENT OF HELIUM ACT.

    Except as otherwise expressly provided, whenever in this Act an amendment or repeal is expressed in terms of an amendment to, or repeal of, a section or other provision, the reference shall be considered to be made to a section or other provision of the Helium Act (50 U.S.C. 167 to 167n).

SEC. 3. AUTHORITY OF SECRETARY.

    Sections 3, 4, and 5 are amended to read as follows:

‘SEC. 3. AUTHORITY OF SECRETARY.

    ‘(a) EXTRACTION AND DISPOSAL OF HELIUM ON FEDERAL LANDS- (1) The Secretary may enter into agreements with private parties for the recovery and disposal of helium on Federal lands upon such terms and conditions as he deems fair, reasonable and necessary. The Secretary may grant leasehold rights to any such helium. The Secretary may not enter into any agreement by which the Secretary sells such helium other than to a private party with whom the Secretary has an agreement for recovery and disposal of helium. Such agreements may be subject to such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the Secretary.

    ‘(2) Any agreement under this subsection shall be subject to the existing rights of any affected Federal oil and gas lessee. Each such agreement (and any extension or renewal thereof) shall contain such terms and conditions as deemed appropriate by the Secretary.

    ‘(3) This subsection shall not in any manner affect or diminish the rights and obligations of the Secretary and private parties under agreements to dispose of helium produced from Federal lands in existence at the enactment of the Helium Act of 1994 except to the extent that such agreements are renewed or extended after such date.

    ‘(b) STORAGE, TRANSPORTATION AND SALE- The Secretary is authorized to store, transport, and sell helium only in accordance with this Act.

    ‘(c) MONITORING AND REPORTING- The Secretary is authorized to monitor helium production and helium reserves in the United States and to periodically prepare reports regarding the amounts of helium produced and the quantity of crude helium in storage in the United States.

‘SEC. 4. STORAGE AND TRANSPORTATION OF CRUDE HELIUM.

    ‘(a) STORAGE AND TRANSPORTATION- The Secretary is authorized to store and transport crude helium and to maintain and operate existing crude helium storage at the Bureau of Mines Cliffside Field, together with related helium transportation and withdrawal facilities.

    ‘(b) CESSATION OF PRODUCTION, REFINING, AND MARKETING- Effective one year after the date of enactment of the Helium Act of 1994, the Secretary shall cease producing, refining and marketing refined helium and shall cease carrying out all other activities relating to helium which the Secretary was authorized to carry out under this Act before the date of enactment of the Helium Act of 1994, except those activities described in subsection (a).

    ‘(c) DISPOSAL OF FACILITIES- (1) Within one year after the date of enactment of the Helium Act of 1994, the Secretary shall dispose of all facilities, equipment, and other real and personal property, together with all interests therein, held by the United States for the purpose of producing, refining and marketing refined helium. The disposal of such property shall be in accordance with the provisions of law governing the disposal of excess or surplus properties of the United States.

    ‘(2) All proceeds accruing to the United States by reason of the sale or other disposal of such property shall be treated as moneys received under this chapter for purposes of section 6(f). All costs associated with such sale and disposal (including costs associated with termination of personnel) and with the cessation of activities under subsection (b) shall be paid from amounts available in the helium production fund established under section 6(f).

    ‘(3) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to any facilities, equipment, or other real or personal property, or any interest therein, necessary for the storage and transportation of crude helium.

    ‘(d) EXISTING CONTRACTS- All contracts which were entered into by any person with the Secretary for the purchase by such person from the Secretary of refined helium and which are in effect on the date of the enactment of the Helium Act of 1994 shall remain in force and effect until the date on which the facilities referred to in subsection (c) are disposed of. Any costs associated with the termination of such contracts shall be paid from the helium production fund established under section 6(f).

‘SEC. 5. FEES FOR STORAGE, TRANSPORTATION AND WITHDRAWAL.

    ‘Whenever the Secretary provides helium storage, withdrawal, or transportation services to any person, the Secretary is authorized and directed to impose fees on such person to reimburse the Secretary for the full costs of providing such storage, transportation, and withdrawal. All such fees received by the Secretary shall be treated as moneys received under this Act for purposes of section 6(f).’.

SEC. 4. SALE OF CRUDE HELIUM.

    Section 6 is amended as follows:

      (1) Subsection (a) is amended by striking out ‘from the Secretary’ and inserting ‘from persons who have entered into enforceable contracts to purchase an equivalent amount of crude helium from the Secretary’.

      (2) Subsection (b) is amended by inserting ‘crude’ before ‘helium’ and by adding the following at the end thereof: ‘Except as may be required by reason of subsection (a), sales of crude helium under this section shall be in amounts as the Secretary determines, in consultation with the helium industry, necessary to carry out this subsection with minimum market disruption.

      (3) Subsection (c) is amended by inserting ‘crude’ before ‘helium’ after the words ‘Sales of’ and by striking ‘together with interest as provided in subsection’ and all that follows down through the period at the end of such subsection and inserting the following:

    ‘all funds required to be repaid to the United States as of October 1, 1993 under this section (hereinafter referred to as ‘repayable amounts’). The price at which crude helium is sold by the Secretary shall not be less than the amount determined by the Secretary as follows:

      ‘(1) Divide the outstanding amount of such repayable amounts by the volume (in mcf) of crude helium owned by the United States and stored in the Bureau of Mines Cliffside Field at the time of the sale concerned.

      ‘(2) Adjust the amount determined under paragraph (1) by the Consumer Price Index for years beginning after December 31, 1993.’.

      (4) Subsection (d) is amended to read as follows:

    ‘(d) EXTRACTION OF HELIUM FROM DEPOSITS ON FEDERAL LANDS- All moneys received by the Secretary from the sale or disposition of helium on Federal lands shall be paid to the Treasury and credited against the amounts required to be repaid to the Treasury under subsection (c) of this section.’.

      (5) Subsection (e) is repealed.

      (6) Subsection (f) is amended by inserting ‘(1)’ after ‘(f)’ and by adding the following at the end thereof:

    ‘(2) Within 7 days after the commencement of each fiscal year after the disposal of the facilities referred to in section 4(c), all amounts in such fund in excess of $2,000,000 (or such lesser sum as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out this Act during such fiscal year) shall be paid to the Treasury and credited as provided in paragraph (1). Upon repayment of all amounts referred to in subsection (c), the fund established under this section shall be terminated and all moneys received under this Act shall be deposited in the Treasury as General Revenues.’.

SEC. 5. ELIMINATION OF STOCKPILE.

    Section 8 is amended to read as follows:

‘SEC. 8. ELIMINATION OF STOCKPILE.

    ‘(a) REVIEW OF RESERVES- The Secretary shall review annually the known helium reserves in the United States and make a determination as to the expected life of the domestic helium reserves (other than federally owned helium stored at the Cliffside Reservoir) at that time.

    ‘(b) STOCKPILE SALES- Not later than January 1, 2004, the Secretary shall commence making sales of crude helium from helium reserves owned by the United States in such amounts as may be necessary to dispose of all such helium reserves in excess of 600 million cubic feet (mcf) by January 1, 2014. The sales shall be at such times and in such lots as the Secretary determines, in consultation with the helium industry, to be necessary to carry out this subsection with minimum market disruption. The price for all such sales, as determined by the Secretary in consultation with the helium industry, shall be such as will ensure repayment of the amounts required to be repaid to the Treasury under section 6(c).

    ‘(c) DISCOVERY OF ADDITIONAL RESERVES- The discovery of additional helium reserves shall not affect the duty of the Secretary to make sales of helium as provided in subsection (b), as the case may be.’.

SEC. 6. REPEAL OF AUTHORITY TO BORROW.

    Sections 12 and 15 are repealed.