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house Bill H.R. 3279

Should Helium Extraction on Federal Lands be Allowed Under the Same Terms as Natural Gas and Oil Leases?

Argument in favor

Helium plays a significant role in several critical industries ranging from space and defense to medical technology. To ensure the U.S. has the helium it needs, its extraction should be allowed on the same lease terms as oil and natural gas.

Brian's Opinion
···
10/31/2017
Helium plays a significant role in several critical industries ranging from space and defense to medical technology. To ensure the U.S. has the helium it needs, its extraction should be allowed on the same lease terms as oil and natural gas.
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Ernest's Opinion
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11/01/2017
I voted yes and the reason is simple- why not lease it in the same fashion? Now I’m gonna go look at all the comments the tree hugging trolls left for me to laugh at!! I wish they would hop into their Priuses and Saabs and Volvo’s and just go away.......
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Olivia's Opinion
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11/01/2017
If it Important enough for all the things that were listed, I say yes.
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Argument opposed

Even though helium is primarily extracted from natural gas, the federal government should have a different structure for helium leases than gas and oil leases to ensure better oversight of the domestic helium market.

PLD's Opinion
···
10/31/2017
There’s not enough information to make intelligent decision. However, everything should be done to guarantee the preservation of our natural resources as they are. No amount of profit is worth risking such preservation for future generations.
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Juan's Opinion
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11/01/2017
Undecided on this bill, really, but I am concerned about tying helium to the oil and natural gas economy. Unlike natural gas and oil, which over the next decades could be replaced with renewables, there is no cost-efficient or even feasible way of mass-producing helium. Helium is a chemically inert gas that can only be manufactured by hydrogen fusion. We're decades away from having usable fusion reactors here on Earth. Meanwhile, helium is critical for MRI machines, superconductors, and helping divers avoid the Bends. Until we find a way to either substitute or produce helium, existing stockpiles and reserves must be carefully monitored.
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Jay's Opinion
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11/01/2017
Helium is extremely rare in the universe and we, frankly, are pretty lucky to have it at all. I'm afraid that helium would be used for wrong purposes such as filling a balloon. We need more oversight in what the helium is sold for as well as keeping our competitive edge in having this rare reosource.
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What is House Bill H.R. 3279?

This bill would amend the Mineral Leasing Act to require that land leased by the Dept. of the Interior for the extraction of helium would fall under the same lease terms as a federal oil and gas lease. Helium is a byproduct of the natural gas extraction process.

Impact

Those who would extract helium on federal lands; and the Dept. of the Interior.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 3279

The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would have the net impact of reducing spending by $9 million over the 2018-2027.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA) introduced this bill to allow helium extraction from gas on federal lands under the same terms as gas and oil:

“Helium has become irreplaceable in our space, defense, and medical industries. Without this bill, we could become dangerously dependent on unstable foreign countries for our supply of helium. This bill encourages the development of American sources of helium and will boost both our national security and economy. I’m grateful to Chairman Rob Bishop and the Natural Resources Committee for moving this bill forward.”

The House Natural Resources Committee approved this bill by unanimous consent.


Of NoteAccording to the House Natural Resources Committee, the U.S. is the world’s largest supplier of helium ahead of Qatar, Algeria, and Russia. It cited political instability in Qatar and the upcoming closure of the Federal Helium Reserve in 2021 as necessitating steps to expand the U.S. helium supply. Helium serves as an essential element in technologies such as MRIs, air-to-air missile guidance systems; and semiconductors.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: jcrosemann / iStock)

AKA

Helium Extraction Act of 2017

Official Title

To amend the Mineral Leasing Act to provide that extraction of helium from gas produced under a Federal mineral lease shall maintain the lease as if the helium were oil and gas.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
  • The house Passed November 1st, 2017
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Natural Resources
    IntroducedJuly 18th, 2017

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    Helium plays a significant role in several critical industries ranging from space and defense to medical technology. To ensure the U.S. has the helium it needs, its extraction should be allowed on the same lease terms as oil and natural gas.
    Like (28)
    Follow
    Share
    There’s not enough information to make intelligent decision. However, everything should be done to guarantee the preservation of our natural resources as they are. No amount of profit is worth risking such preservation for future generations.
    Like (65)
    Follow
    Share
    Undecided on this bill, really, but I am concerned about tying helium to the oil and natural gas economy. Unlike natural gas and oil, which over the next decades could be replaced with renewables, there is no cost-efficient or even feasible way of mass-producing helium. Helium is a chemically inert gas that can only be manufactured by hydrogen fusion. We're decades away from having usable fusion reactors here on Earth. Meanwhile, helium is critical for MRI machines, superconductors, and helping divers avoid the Bends. Until we find a way to either substitute or produce helium, existing stockpiles and reserves must be carefully monitored.
    Like (28)
    Follow
    Share
    Helium is extremely rare in the universe and we, frankly, are pretty lucky to have it at all. I'm afraid that helium would be used for wrong purposes such as filling a balloon. We need more oversight in what the helium is sold for as well as keeping our competitive edge in having this rare reosource.
    Like (15)
    Follow
    Share
    Helium is a distinct element that is viable for many industries. Please vote no until we have a bill in place that will ensure distinct Helium monitoring and regulations to protect this necessary and limited resource.
    Like (10)
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    Republicans have an agenda that does not coincide with the best interests of the people of this country
    Like (8)
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    He will be the next mass export value commodity because it IS so vital in so many applications. It's recovery and provisions for such should be treated specially
    Like (5)
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    Doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. This would probably be a good opportunity to put more stringent regulations on the extraction of natural resources like helium. We also need to focus on preserving our natural environment instead of raiding so much of it for oil and gas extraction.
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    Stop messing with earth! Greedy idiots !!
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    Helium extraction should benefit only the public. We need to be paid more for it than oil. We're being robbed blind by this criminal administration
    Like (4)
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    I cannot support this bill because I AM SICK OF LAST MINUTE LEGISLATIVE VOTES WITHOUT VETTING, 💥the science being used to justify the legislation is questionable at best;💥likewise, I believe there is another motive at work. Additionally, the man behind the bill has a poor track record in 🌳environmental responsibility. 🔑 Finally, because I am female and see no reason to trust or support the actions of a man who has repeatedly used his position to undercut the reproductive rights of women. To put it bluntly, I do not like Mr. Paul Cook, nor do I trust him.
    Like (3)
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    I voted yes and the reason is simple- why not lease it in the same fashion? Now I’m gonna go look at all the comments the tree hugging trolls left for me to laugh at!! I wish they would hop into their Priuses and Saabs and Volvo’s and just go away.......
    Like (3)
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    Not enough information is provided as to what this would actually accomplish.
    Like (3)
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    Grow hemp instead.
    Like (3)
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    Quit raping the earth.
    Like (3)
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    First off, why does the national government own land? Second, absolutely!
    Like (2)
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    Let’s use the resources the good Lord has blessed us with.
    Like (2)
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    No corporation should be profiting from natural resources on public lands.
    Like (2)
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    Even though helium is normally extracted from natural gas, a different structure for helium leases than gas and oil leases should be regulated by the federal government to ensure better control of the domestic helium market.
    Like (2)
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    All of our natural resources should be protected and preserved. This is just another way for the greedy to prey upon our natural resources and profit.
    Like (2)
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