Oversight Hearing on "Helium: Supply Shortages Impacting our Economy, National Defense and Manufacturing"
Friday, July 20, 2012 9:30 AM
Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources
1324 Longworth House Office Building


SUBCOMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND MINERAL RESOURCES
1324 Longworth House Office Building
Friday, July 20, 2012
9:30 a.m.

OVERSIGHT HEARING ON:

  • "Helium: Supply Shortages Impacting our Economy, National Defense and Manufacturing"

OPENING STATEMENT:

The Honorable Doug Lamborn
Chairman

WITNESSES AND TESTIMONY:

Panel I

Tim Spisak
Deputy Assistant Director, Minerals and Realty Management
Bureau of Land Management
U.S. Department of the Interior

Panel II

David Joyner
President
Air Liquide Helium America, Inc.
(Truth in Testimony Form)

Walter L. Nelson
Director, Helium Sourcing & Supply Chain
Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.
(Truth in Testimony Form)

Tom Thoman
Airgas Division President – Gases Production
Airgas, Inc.
(Truth in Testimony Form)

Tom Rauch
Global Sourcing Manager-Services & Aftermarket Solutions
GE Healthcare
(Truth in Testimony Form)

Mark Haynes
Next Generation Nuclear Plant Industry Alliance Representative
(Truth in Testimony Form)

John R. Campbell
Former Member of the National Research Council’s
Committee on Understanding the Impact of Selling the Helium Reserve
President & CEO of J.R. Campbell and Associates
(Truth in Testimony Form)

Dr. N. Phuan Ong
Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics
Director, Princeton Center for Complex Materials
Department of Physics
Princeton University
(Truth in Testimony Form)

BACKGROUND:

The U.S. Federal Government is responsible for supplying 30% of world's supply of helium. Originally created as a federal helium extraction and purification plant, the BLM helium reserve is managed in a single reservoir and pipeline system located in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. While once a productive strategic resource, in the 1990s the Department of Interior lost over $1.3 billion dollars establishing and running the reserve. Due to this mounting federal debt and decreasing usefulness of the large federal reserve, in 1996, Congress passed the Helium Privatization Act of 1996 (PL 104-273). This hearing will focus on the existing demand for helium in the United States, the future of the federally-owned helium reserve, and the impact the eventual closure of the U.S. reserve would have on the scientific, technical, medical, and defense industries that depend upon helium for manufacturing and research.

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