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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jun 27, 1996.
Helium Privatization Act of 1996 - Amends the Helium Act to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to: (1) enter into agreements with private parties for the recovery and disposal of helium on Federal lands; (2) grant leasehold rights to such helium; (3) store and transport crude helium; and (4) maintain and operate existing crude helium storage at the Bureau of Mines Cliffside Field. Directs the Secretary to: (1) cease producing, refining, and marketing refined helium; and (2) dispose of all facilities, equipment, and Federal property interests relating to refined helium activities. Requires the Secretary to impose fees for helium storage, withdrawal, or transportation services. Prescribes guidelines for: (1) the purchase of helium by Federal agencies from certain private persons; and (2) the sale of crude helium by the Secretary. Requires the Secretary to make crude helium sales in amounts that will cause minimum market disruption. Mandates that proceeds from helium sales be paid to the Treasury. (Sec. 5) Instructs the Secretary to eliminate helium stockpiles by a prescribed deadline. Repeals the Secretary's authority to borrow under the Helium Act. (Sec. 7) Directs the Secretary of the Interior to convey to the Texas Plains Girl Scout Council for consideration of one dollar specified lands in Potter County, Texas, reserving easements to the United States for pipeline rights-of-way. (Sec. 8) Directs the Secretary to: (1) enter into arrangements with the National Academy of Sciences to study and report to the Congress on whether disposal of helium reserves (including crude helium reserves) will have a substantial adverse effect upon U.S. scientific, technical, biomedical, or national security interests; (2) determine whether disposal of the helium reserve will have a substantial adverse effect on the U.S. helium industry, the U.S. helium market or such interests; and (3) if the Secretary determines that selling the crude helium reserves will have a substantial adverse effect on the industry, market, or such interests, make recommendations to the Congress, including proposed legislation, necessary to avoid such effects.