Summary: S.2374 — 112th Congress (2011-2012)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for S.2374. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in Senate (04/26/2012)

Helium Stewardship Act of 2012 - Amends the Helium Act to name all U.S.-owned helium reserves the Federal Helium Reserve, including: (1) the Cliffside Field helium storage reservoir; (2) the federally owned helium pipeline system; and (3) all associated infrastructure owned, leased, or managed under contract by the Secretary of the Interior for helium storage, transportation, withdrawal, purification, or management.

Revises the authority of the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) to offer crude helium for sale for federal, medical, scientific, and commercial uses, dividing such sales into three phases the second of which is to maximize total recovery of helium from the Reserve.

Authorizes extramural holders of federal research grants, as well as federal agencies, to purchase refined helium for federal uses, including medical and scientific uses, from persons who have entered into enforceable contracts to purchase an equivalent quantity of crude helium from the Secretary.

Replaces the current formula for determining the price of helium with guidelines referring to current market crude helium prices.

Directs the Secretary, acting through the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey, to undertake a national helium gas assessment.

Directs the Secretary of Energy (DOE) to support research, development, commercial application, and conservation programs to: (1) expand domestic production of low-Btu gas and helium resources, (2) separate and capture helium from natural gas streams at the wellhead, and (3) reduce venting helium and helium-bearing low-Btu gas during natural gas operations.

Instructs the Secretary of Energy to support or carry out directly research programs to develop: (1) advanced membrane technology, (2) helium separation technology, and (3) low-cost technologies and technology systems for recycling, reprocessing, and reusing helium (industrial helium program).

Directs the Secretary of the Interior to cooperate with the Secretary of Energy on any assessment or research regarding extraction and refinement of the isotope helium-3 from crude helium at the Reserve or along the helium pipeline system.

Amends the Soda Ash Royalty Reduction Act of 2006 to extend from 5 to 7 years the reduced royalty rate on soda ash produced from federal land.