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113th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                     113-42

======================================================================



 
         RESPONSIBLE HELIUM ADMINISTRATION AND STEWARDSHIP ACT

                                _______
                                

 April 18, 2013.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Hastings of Washington, from the Committee on Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 527]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 527) to amend the Helium Act to complete the 
privatization of the Federal helium reserve in a competitive 
market fashion that ensures stability in the helium markets 
while protecting the interests of American taxpayers, and for 
other purposes, having considered the same, report favorably 
thereon with an amendment and recommend that the bill as 
amended do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Responsible Helium Administration and 
Stewardship Act''.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

  Section 2 of the Helium Act (50 U.S.C. 167) is amended--
          (1) in paragraph (1), by striking the semicolon at the end 
        and inserting a period;
          (2) in paragraph (2), by striking ``; and'' and inserting a 
        period; and
          (3) by adding at the end the following:
          ``(4) Federal helium reserve.--
                  ``(A) In general.--The term `Federal Helium Reserve' 
                means the Bureau of Land Management Cliffside Gas Field 
                and supporting infrastructure.
                  ``(B) Inclusions.--The term `Federal Helium Reserve' 
                includes--
                          ``(i) the Cliffside Gas Field helium storage 
                        reservoir; and
                          ``(ii) all associated infrastructure owned, 
                        leased, or managed under contract by the 
                        Secretary for storage, transportation, 
                        withdrawal, purification, or management of 
                        helium.
          ``(5) Qualifying domestic helium transaction.--The term 
        `qualifying domestic helium transaction'--
                  ``(A) except as provided in subparagraph (B), means 
                any new or newly renegotiated agreement for the 
                purchase or sale of at least 15,000,000 standard cubic 
                feet of crude helium or bulk liquid helium delivered in 
                the United States in the most recent full fiscal year; 
                and
                  ``(B) does not include any purchase of crude helium 
                from the Secretary.
          ``(6) Tolling agreement.--The term `tolling agreement' means 
        an agreement between a helium refiner and another party under 
        which the helium refiner agrees to process the other person's 
        helium at an agreed upon price.''.

SEC. 3. SALE AND AUCTION OF CRUDE HELIUM.

  (a) In General.--Section 6 of the Helium Act (50 U.S.C. 167d) is 
amended to read as follows:

``SEC. 6. SALE OF HELIUM.

  ``(a) Phase A: Finalizing Debt Payoff.--
          ``(1) In general.--Subject to paragraph (2), the Secretary 
        shall offer for sale crude helium for Federal, medical, 
        research, scientific, and commercial uses in such quantities, 
        at such times, and under such conditions as the Secretary 
        determines necessary to carry out this subsection with minimum 
        market disruption.
          ``(2) Minimum quantity.--The Secretary shall offer for sale 
        during each fiscal year under paragraph (1) a quantity of crude 
        helium equivalent to the quantity of crude helium produced from 
        the Federal Helium Reserve during fiscal year 2012.
          ``(3) In-kind purchase by federal agencies and grantees.--
        Federal agencies, and holders of 1 or more Federal research 
        grants, may purchase refined helium under this subsection for 
        Federal, medical, research and scientific uses from persons who 
        have entered into enforceable contracts to purchase an 
        equivalent quantity of crude helium from the Secretary.
          ``(4) Prices and determinations.--Sales of crude helium by 
        the Secretary under this subsection shall be at prices 
        established by the Secretary that shall not be less than the 
        price in the last sale of crude helium from the Federal Helium 
        Reserve before the date of enactment of the Responsible Helium 
        Administration and Stewardship Act, except that any sale to a 
        person referred to in paragraph (3) for a purchase authorized 
        by that paragraph shall be at a price specified by the 
        Secretary.
          ``(5) Duration.--This subsection applies during the period--
                  ``(A) beginning on the date of enactment of the 
                Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act; 
                and
                  ``(B) ending on the expiration of the one-year period 
                following such date of enactment.
  ``(b) Phase B: Maximizing Total Recovery of Helium and Increasing 
Returns to the American Taxpayer.--
          ``(1) In general.--The Secretary shall offer for sale at 
        auction, as described in subsection (d), crude helium for 
        medical, research, scientific, and commercial uses in such 
        quantities, at such times, and under such conditions as the 
        Secretary determines necessary--
                  ``(A) to maximize total recovery and conservation of 
                helium from the Federal Helium Reserve;
                  ``(B) to manage crude helium sales according to the 
                ability of the Secretary to extract and produce helium 
                from the Federal Helium Reserve;
                  ``(C) to respond to helium market supply and demand 
                and minimize market disruption; and
                  ``(D) to give priority to meeting the helium demand 
                of Federal users through purchases under paragraph (2).
          ``(2) In-kind purchase by federal agencies and grantees.--Any 
        Federal agency, and any holder of 1 or more Federal research 
        grants, may purchase refined helium for Federal, medical, 
        research, and scientific uses from an eligible person. The 
        Secretary shall then provide an equivalent volume of crude 
        helium to the eligible person as if the eligible person was the 
        successful bidder for the helium at auction. Provision of 
        helium by the Secretary under this paragraph shall not be 
        considered a sale of helium by the Secretary at auction. The 
        Secretary shall provide such helium at the minimum price 
        established by the Secretary for the most recent auction held 
        under this subsection or such other price as may be specified 
        by the Secretary.
          ``(3) Eligible person.--For purposes of this subsection, the 
        term `eligible person' means a helium distributer who is 
        registered as such with the Secretary.
          ``(4) Duration.--This subsection applies during the period--
                  ``(A) beginning on the expiration of the period 
                described in subsection (a)(5)(B); and
                  ``(B) ending on the date on which the volume of 
                recoverable crude helium at the Federal Helium Reserve 
                (other than privately owned quantities of crude helium 
                stored temporarily at the Federal Helium Reserve under 
                section 5 and this section) is 3,000,000,000 standard 
                cubic feet.
          ``(5) Maximum annual sales.--Notwithstanding any provision of 
        subsection (d), for each fiscal year, the Secretary may not 
        offer or provide for sale under this subsection a total volume 
        of crude helium that exceeds the lesser of--
                  ``(A) the projected maximum total production capacity 
                of the Federal Helium Reserve during that fiscal year; 
                and
                  ``(B) the maximum refining capacity of persons 
                connected by pipeline to the Federal Helium Reserve 
                during that fiscal year.
  ``(c) Phase C: Access for Federal Users.--
          ``(1) In general.--The Secretary may offer for sale crude 
        helium for Federal uses (including medical, research, and 
        scientific uses) in such quantities, at such times, and under 
        such conditions as the Secretary determines necessary to carry 
        out this subsection.
          ``(2) Purchase by federal agencies and grantees.--Federal 
        agencies, and holders of 1 or more Federal research grants 
        related to helium or the use of helium, may purchase refined 
        helium under this subsection for Federal uses (including 
        medical, research, and scientific uses) from persons who have 
        entered into enforceable contracts to purchase an equivalent 
        quantity of crude helium from the Secretary.
          ``(3) Effective date.--This subsection applies beginning on 
        the day after the date described in subsection (b)(4)(B).
  ``(d) Auction and Minimum Prices Determination.--
          ``(1) In general.--Sales of crude helium by the Secretary in 
        auctions under subsection (b) shall be conducted under the 
        conditions described in this section and at no less than the 
        minimum price established by the Secretary.
          ``(2) Auction.--The Secretary shall conduct such auctions of 
        crude helium as soon as practical but no later than beginning 
        180 days after the first day of the period described in 
        subsection (b)(4), under the following conditions:
                  ``(A) 60 percent of the volume of crude helium made 
                available in each auction shall be made available to 
                entities that can show the Secretary they have either 
                adequate refining capacity or tolling agreements for 
                refining in place, in accordance with the conditions 
                set forth in paragraph (3).
                  ``(B) 20 percent of the volume of crude helium made 
                available in each auction shall be made available to 
                any bidder, in accordance with the conditions set forth 
                in paragraph (3).
                  ``(C) In each auction after the first auction under 
                this subsection after the date of the enactment of the 
                Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act, 
                the Secretary shall make available an additional volume 
                of crude helium, in an amount equivalent to the amount 
                made available under subparagraph (B) that the 
                Secretary certifies can be refined, through tolling 
                agreements or otherwise. Of such additional volume, a 
                person may not acquire in the auction a volume in 
                excess of the volume they demonstrate to the Secretary 
                they have the ability to refine through either refining 
                capacity or tolling agreements.
                  ``(D) The Secretary shall conduct such auctions at 
                such times as the Secretary determines necessary to 
                ensure a reliable supply of helium and a fair return to 
                taxpayers, but no less frequently than 2 times each 
                fiscal year.
                  ``(E) For purposes of the first auction under this 
                subsection after the date of the enactment of the 
                Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act, 
                the Secretary may revise the percentage under 
                subparagraph (A) so as to make available for auction 
                100 percent of the volume of crude helium intended to 
                be offered.
                  ``(F) The Secretary may adjust the percentages and 
                amount specified in subparagraphs (A) through (C), 
                respectively, in any auction if the Secretary 
                determines the adjustment is necessary to--
                          ``(i) respond to market supply and demand and 
                        minimize market disruption; or
                          ``(ii) increase participation in helium 
                        auctions.
                  ``(G) The Secretary may conduct an auction no more 
                frequently than once each fiscal year of an amount of 
                helium equal to up to 10 percent of the volume of crude 
                helium to be made available at auction during the 
                following fiscal year. Such amount of crude helium 
                shall be made available to any bidder, in accordance 
                with the conditions set forth in paragraph (3). 
                Notwithstanding paragraph (3)(C), for crude helium sold 
                in such an auction the Secretary shall begin charging a 
                storage fee under clause (i) of that paragraph 
                beginning 1 year after the date of such auction, and 
                shall begin charging increasing storage fees under 
                clause (ii) of that paragraph beginning 270 days after 
                beginning charging storage fees under clause (i) of 
                that paragraph.
          ``(3) Auction conditions.--
                  ``(A) Bidding method.--The Secretary shall conduct 
                each auction by sealed bid for predetermined volume 
                lots, unless the Secretary determines that an 
                alternative bidding method may result in more revenue 
                to the Federal Government or may increase participation 
                in the auction.
                  ``(B) Bidder qualifications and limits.--In carrying 
                out an auction under subsection (b), the Secretary--
                          ``(i) may accept bids only from persons the 
                        Secretary determines are seeking to purchase 
                        helium for their own use, for refining, or for 
                        delivery to users; and
                          ``(ii) may not award to a person more than 30 
                        percent of the total volume of crude helium 
                        offered in that auction, except that the 
                        Secretary may adjust such limitation based on 
                        the number of bidders in the auction.
                  ``(C) Storage fees.--In each auction the Secretary--
                          ``(i) shall begin charging each winning 
                        bidder a storage fee for crude helium purchased 
                        by the bidder that remains in the Federal 
                        Helium Reserve, beginning on the date the 
                        Secretary receives payment of the purchase 
                        price for the helium; and
                          ``(ii) beginning 270 days after the date of 
                        the auction, shall charge increasing storage 
                        fees that will encourage the withdrawal of the 
                        helium no later than 2 years after the date of 
                        the auction.
          ``(4) Determination of minimum sale price.--The Secretary 
        shall make a determination of the minimum sale price for sales 
        described in paragraph (1) using--
                  ``(A) a confidential survey of qualifying domestic 
                helium transactions to which any holder of a contract 
                with the Secretary for the acceptance, storage, and 
                redelivery of crude helium in the Cliffside Gas Field 
                helium storage reservoir is a party;
                  ``(B) current market crude helium prices as 
                represented by the sale price at any auction held by 
                the Secretary in the preceding 2 years;
                  ``(C) the volume-weighted average cost among helium 
                refiners, producers, and liquefiers, in dollars per 
                thousand cubic feet, of converting gaseous crude helium 
                into bulk liquid helium;
                  ``(D) the additional layer of cost and profit 
                associated with the sale or resale of bulk liquid 
                helium; and
                  ``(E) the sale price for crude helium offered in the 
                most recent auction under paragraph (2)(G).
          ``(5) Authority of secretary.--The Secretary shall--
                  ``(A) require all persons that are parties to a 
                contract with the Secretary for the acceptance, 
                storage, and redelivery of crude helium to disclose, on 
                a strictly confidential basis in dollars per thousand 
                cubic feet, the weighted average price of all crude 
                helium and bulk liquid helium purchased, sold, or 
                processed by the persons in all qualifying domestic 
                helium transactions during the fiscal year;
                  ``(B) appoint a qualified independent third party to 
                perform data collection and analysis for the purposes 
                of the survey under paragraph (4)(A); and
                  ``(C) adopt such administrative policies and 
                procedures as the Secretary considers necessary and 
                reasonable to ensure robust protection of the 
                confidentiality of data submitted by private persons.
          ``(6) Changes in minimum price.--If the Secretary believes 
        that the minimum price as determined by the survey under 
        paragraph (4)(A) may not be reflective of the current market 
        value of helium, or if a higher minimum price may result in 
        greater conservation of the Federal crude helium resource, the 
        Secretary may change the minimum price charged for crude helium 
        sold under this section by up to 10 percent of the price 
        determined under paragraph (4). If at any sale in which the 
        minimum price is increased under this paragraph all crude 
        helium offered is sold at the increased price, the Secretary 
        shall consider that increased price to be the minimum price 
        determined under paragraph (4) for all future sales of crude 
        helium under this section unless that price is further changed 
        in accordance with this paragraph.
          ``(7) Ensuring fair and nondiscriminatory acts and 
        practices.--The Secretary may issue such rules and regulations 
        with respect to ensure bidding, transfer, and refining of 
        helium produced from or held in the Federal Helium Reserve as 
        may be necessary to ensure fair and nondiscriminatory acts and 
        practices.
          ``(8) Auction records.--
                  ``(A) Furnishing records.--Every person participating 
                in auctions of helium from the Federal Helium Reserve 
                shall furnish to the Secretary on request such records 
                of transactions in helium auctions as the Secretary may 
                require to reconstruct bidding or trading in the course 
                of a particular inquiry or investigation being 
                conducted by the Secretary for enforcement or 
                surveillance purposes. In requiring information 
                pursuant to this paragraph, the Secretary shall specify 
                the information required, the period for which it is 
                required, and the time and date on which the 
                information must be furnished.
                  ``(B) Reporting requirements.--The Secretary may 
                issue rules to require persons participating in helium 
                auctions to file such reports as the Secretary 
                determines to be necessary for purposes of this Act.
                  ``(C) Recordkeeping requirements.--Rules under this 
                subsection may require specified persons to make and 
                keep for prescribed periods such records as the 
                Secretary determines are necessary or appropriate to 
                ensure that such persons can comply with reporting 
                requirements under this subsection.
                  ``(D) Limitation on disclosure of information.--
                Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the 
                Secretary shall not be compelled to disclose any 
                proprietary information required to be kept or reported 
                under this subsection. Nothing in this subsection 
                authorizes the Secretary to withhold information from 
                Congress, prevents the Secretary from complying with a 
                request for information from any other Federal 
                department or agency requesting information for 
                purposes within the scope of its jurisdiction, or 
                prevents the Secretary from complying with an order of 
                a court of the United States in an action brought by 
                the United States or by the Secretary.
  ``(e) Helium Production Fund.--
          ``(1) In general.--All amounts received under this Act shall 
        be credited to the Helium Production Fund, which shall be 
        available without fiscal year limitation for purposes 
        considered necessary by the Secretary to carry out this 
        subsection.
          ``(2) Administrative expenses.--Amounts in the Helium 
        Production Fund may be used by the Secretary to conduct helium 
        auctions and otherwise administer this Act.
          ``(3) Repayment amounts.--During the period described in 
        subsection (a)(4), amounts in the Helium Production Fund in 
        excess of amounts the Secretary considers necessary to conduct 
        helium auctions and otherwise administer this Act shall be paid 
        to the general fund of the Treasury and credited against all 
        amounts required to be repaid to the United States under this 
        Act as of October 1, 1995.
          ``(4) Capital investments and maintenance.--Amounts in the 
        Helium Production Fund in excess of amounts the Secretary 
        considers necessary to carry out paragraphs (1) through (3) may 
        be used to fund the following capital investments in upgrades 
        and maintenance at the Federal Helium reserve:
                  ``(A) Wellhead maintenance at the Cliffside Gas Field 
                helium storage reservoir.
                  ``(B) Capital investments in maintenance and upgrades 
                of facilities that pressurize the Cliffside Gas Field 
                helium storage reservoir.
                  ``(C) Capital investments in maintenance and upgrades 
                of equipment related to the storage, withdrawal, 
                transportation, purification, and sale of crude helium 
                at the Cliffside Gas Field helium storage reservoir.
                  ``(D) Any other scheduled or unscheduled maintenance 
                of the Cliffside Gas Field helium storage reservoir and 
                helium pipeline.
          ``(5) Excess funds.--Amounts in the Helium Production Fund in 
        excess of amounts the Secretary considers necessary to carry 
        out paragraphs (1) through (4) shall be paid to the general 
        fund of the Treasury.
  ``(f) Extraction of Helium From Deposits on Federal Land.--All 
amounts received by the Secretary from the sale or disposition of crude 
helium on Federal land shall be paid to the general fund of the 
Treasury and credited against all amounts required to be repaid to the 
United States under this Act as of October 1, 1995.
  ``(g) Maintenance of Helium Supply.--The Secretary shall ensure that 
there is no disruption in the supply of helium from the Federal Helium 
Reserve during the transition between phases of helium sales under 
subsections (a), (b), and (c).''.
  (b) Report.--Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of 
this Act and annually thereafter, the Secretary of the Interior shall 
submit to the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of 
Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of 
the Senate a report describing all expenditures by the Bureau of Land 
Management for operation and maintenance of the Federal Helium Reserve 
(as that term is defined in the amendment made by section 2(3)), 
investments made by the Bureau for such reserve, and scheduled or 
unscheduled maintenance of such reserve or its infrastructure to be 
conducted by the Bureau.

SEC. 4. BLM TRANSPARENCY REQUIREMENTS TO FACILITATE MARKET AND SUPPLY 
                    CHAIN INFORMATION.

  The Helium Act (50 U.S.C. 167 et seq.) is further amended by 
redesignating sections 15 and 17 as sections 17 and 18, and by 
inserting after section 14 the following:

``SEC. 15. PIPELINE ACCESS.

  ``(a) Annual Report.--The Secretary, acting through the Bureau of 
Land Management, shall make available on the Internet the current 
refining capacity on the Federal Helium Reserve pipeline, including--
          ``(1) refinery capacity and future capacity estimates;
          ``(2) ownership of federally auctioned helium held in the 
        Federal Helium Reserve;
          ``(3) volume of helium delivered to individual buyers through 
        such pipeline;
          ``(4) for each helium refiner--
                  ``(A) the number of tolling agreements entered into 
                before October 1, 2013; and
                  ``(B) for each fiscal year thereafter--
                          ``(i) the number of tolling agreements 
                        entered into;
                          ``(ii) the number of tolling requests 
                        received; and
                          ``(iii) the total volume of helium refined 
                        under each tolling agreement entered into;
          ``(5) pipeline pressure constraints; and
          ``(6) other factors that will increase transparency for 
        persons interested in entering refining contracts with existing 
        refiners.
  ``(b) New Refining Capacity.--The Secretary shall take any 
applications for new refining capacity on the Federal Helium Reserve 
pipeline. To create more competition, any new refining capacity added 
to the Federal Helium Reserve pipeline system shall be granted access 
to crude helium that is equal to the access provided to existing 
refining facilities.
  ``(c) Access by Purchasers of Helium.--The Secretary shall manage 
Federal Helium Reserve pipeline access in a competitive manner to 
ensure that all persons purchasing helium have equal access to timing 
and delivery of the helium, subject to the capacity of the system.
  ``(d) Scheduling Deliveries.--The Secretary shall, to the greatest 
extent practicable, make the scheduling of crude helium deliveries 
through the Federal Helium Reserve pipeline open and transparent to all 
purchasers of helium through the auction process, and to the public if 
the Secretary believes that it is in the national interest.
  ``(e) Scheduling Priority.--
          ``(1) In general.--In scheduling crude helium deliveries 
        through the Federal Helium Reserve pipeline the Secretary shall 
        grant pipeline access in the following order of priority:
                  ``(A) Helium held in the Reserve as a result of a 
                purchase under subsection (b)(2).
                  ``(B) Helium sold at auction being delivered to 
                fulfill a tolling agreement.
                  ``(C) Other helium sold at auction.
                  ``(D) Helium held in the Reserve as a result of a 
                crude helium exchange resulting from any temporary 
                shutdown of the Reserve or of a refinery on the Reserve 
                pipeline.
                  ``(E) Helium held in inventory in the Reserve before 
                the date of enactment of the Responsible Helium 
                Administration and Stewardship Act.
          ``(2) In scheduling such deliveries of helium described in 
        each of subparagraphs (A) through (E) of paragraph (1), the 
        Secretary shall grant pipeline access based on the following 
        order of priority:
                  ``(A) The price paid to the United States for the 
                helium, giving higher priority to helium for which a 
                greater price was paid.
                  ``(B) The date the helium was purchased from the 
                Secretary, giving higher priority to helium purchased 
                on an earlier date.
                  ``(C) Any other factor the Secretary considers 
                appropriate to prioritize delivery.

``SEC. 16. BLM REPORTING REQUIREMENTS TO FACILITATE SUPPLY CHAIN 
                    INFORMATION.

  ``(a) In General.--In order to provide the market with appropriate 
and timely information affecting the helium resource, the Director of 
the Bureau of Land Management shall establish, no later than 90 days 
after the date of enactment of the Responsible Helium Administration 
and Stewardship Act, a real-time reporting process, including reporting 
over the Internet, to provide data that will affect the helium 
industry, including such effects for all persons in such industry from 
crude helium suppliers to end users.
  ``(b) Included Information.--Information provided under this section 
shall include the following:
          ``(1) Annual maintenance schedules and quarterly updates 
        thereof, which shall be available on the Internet, to the 
        extent practicable, and shall include the following:
                  ``(A) The date and duration of planned shutdowns of 
                the Federal Helium Reserve pipeline.
                  ``(B) The nature of work to be undertaken, whether 
                routine, extended, or extraordinary.
                  ``(C) The anticipated impact on the helium supply.
                  ``(D) The efforts to minimize any impact on the 
                supply chain.
                  ``(E) Any concerns regarding maintenance of the 
                Federal Helium Reserve pipeline, pressure of such 
                pipeline, or deviation from normal operation of such 
                pipeline.
          ``(2) For each unplanned outage, the following:
                  ``(A) The beginning of the outage.
                  ``(B) The expected duration of outage.
                  ``(C) A description of the problem.
                  ``(D) The estimated impact on helium supply.
                  ``(E) A plan to correct problems, an estimate of the 
                potential timeframe for correction, and the likelihood 
                of plan success within the timeframe.
                  ``(F) Efforts to minimize negative impacts on the 
                helium supply chain.
                  ``(G) Updates on repair status and the anticipated 
                online date.
          ``(3) Minutes of meetings between the Bureau of Land 
        Management and the Cliffside Refiners Limited Partnership, 
        including--
                  ``(A) publication of the minutes of each meeting 
                between the Bureau of Land Management and the Cliffside 
                Refiners Limited Partnership, including attendees and 
                their affiliations, on the Internet site of the Bureau 
                within 1 week after the meeting; and
                  ``(B) indication in the minutes of any action taken 
                that could affect the supply or operating status 
                related to the Federal helium program.
          ``(4) Current predictions of the lifespan of the Federal 
        Helium Reserve, including how much longer such crude helium 
        supply will be available based on current and forecasted demand 
        and the projected maximum production capacity of the Federal 
        Helium Reserve for the following fiscal year.''.

SEC. 5. HELIUM RESOURCE ASSESSMENT AND HELIUM-3 SEPARATION.

  (a) Helium Gas Resource Assessment.--Not later than 2 years after the 
date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall--
          (1) in coordination with appropriate heads of State 
        geological surveys--
                  (A) complete a national helium gas assessment that 
                identifies and quantifies the quantity of helium, 
                including the isotope helium-3, in each reservoir, 
                including assessments of the constituent gases found in 
                each helium resource, such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, 
                and natural gas; and
                  (B) make available the modern seismic and geophysical 
                log data for characterization of the Bush Dome 
                Reservoir;
          (2) in coordination with appropriate international agencies 
        and the global geology community, complete a global helium gas 
        assessment that identifies and quantifies the quantity of the 
        helium, including the isotope helium-3, in each reservoir;
          (3) in consultation with the Secretary of Energy, acting 
        through the Administrator of the Energy Information 
        Administration, complete--
                  (A) an assessment of trends in global demand for 
                helium, including the isotope helium-3;
                  (B) a 10-year forecast of domestic demand for helium 
                across all sectors, including scientific and medical 
                research, commercial, manufacturing, space 
                technologies, cryogenics, and national defense; and
                  (C) an inventory of medical, research, scientific, 
                industrial, commercial, and other uses of helium in the 
                United States, including Federal and commercial helium 
                uses, that identifies the nature of the helium use, the 
                amounts required, the technical and commercial 
                viability of helium recapture and recycling in that 
                use, and the availability of material substitutes 
                wherever possible; and
          (4) submit to the Committee on Natural Resources of the House 
        of Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural 
        Resources of the Senate a report describing the results of the 
        assessments required under this subsection.
  (b) Helium-3 Separation.--
          (1) Interagency cooperation.--The Secretary of the Interior 
        shall cooperate with the Secretary of Energy, or a designee of 
        the Secretary of Energy, on any assessment or research relating 
        to the extraction and refining of the isotope helium-3 from 
        crude helium at the Federal Helium Reserve (as that term is 
        defined in the amendments made by section 2) or along the 
        Federal Helium Reserve pipeline system, including--
                  (A) gas analysis;
                  (B) infrastructure studies; and
                  (C) cooperation with private helium refiners.
          (2) Feasibility study.--The Secretary of the Interior shall 
        assess the feasibility of establishing a facility to separate 
        the isotope helium-3 from crude helium at--
                  (A) the Federal Helium Reserve; or
                  (B) an existing helium separation or purification 
                facility connected to the Federal Helium Reserve 
                pipeline system.
          (3) Report.--Not later than 1 year after the date of 
        enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall 
        submit to the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of 
        Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural 
        Resources of the Senate a report that contains a description of 
        the results of the assessments conducted under this subsection.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of H.R. 527 is to amend the Helium Act to 
complete the privatization of the Federal helium reserve in a 
competitive market fashion that ensures stability in the helium 
markets while protecting the interests of American taxpayers.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    The Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act 
(H.R. 527) would address the impending closure of the Federal 
Helium program later this year by allowing the Federal Reserve 
to continue supplying helium while also reforming our nation's 
helium policy. In reforming the program, this legislation 
applies free-market principles to the sale of helium from the 
Reserve, ensuring its continued operation while providing 
American taxpayers with a more transparent and fairer return on 
the public's resources. In addition, by establishing a market 
and market pricing for helium, the legislation will drive 
conservation and new exploration and development of helium.

                       HISTORY OF DOMESTIC HELIUM

    The United States government initially became interested in 
helium during World War I. The U.S. Army valued it as a safe, 
noncombustible alternative to hydrogen for use in buoyant 
aircraft.
    In 1925, Congress created the Federal Helium Program to 
ensure that helium would be available to the government for 
defense needs. The Bureau of Mines constructed and operated a 
large helium extraction and purification plant north of 
Amarillo, Texas, that went into operation in 1929. From 1929 to 
1960 the federal government was the only domestic producer of 
helium. During and after World War II the demand for helium 
increased. In response, Congress passed amendments to the 
Helium Act in 1960. The amendments provided incentives for 
private natural gas producers to strip helium from natural gas 
and sell it to the government. The Secretary of the Interior 
was given authority to borrow money from the U.S. Treasury to 
buy helium and pump it into the reserve, which eventually led 
to a supply large enough to provide for all of the U.S. helium 
needs and allowed some to be sold overseas. Some of this helium 
was used for research, NASA's space program, and defense and 
medical purposes, but most was injected into a storage facility 
at the Cliffside Gas Field helium storage reservoir known as 
the Federal Helium Reserve. The 1960 amendments required the 
Bureau of Mines to set prices on the helium it sold that would 
cover all of the Helium Program's costs and repay its debts. As 
a result of the tremendous quantities of federal helium 
available, the U.S. federal government became the largest 
single global supplier of helium, and the global price of 
helium was established based on the price set by the federal 
government.
    Federal demand for helium did not live up to post-war 
expectations, and by the 1990s, private demand for helium far 
exceeded federal demand. The government had accrued more than 
$1.3 billion in federal debt from the construction of the 
Reserve, the purchase of helium, and the construction of 
pipelines in Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma. In an attempt to pay 
off the debt and ease the federal government out of the helium 
business, in 1996 Congress passed the Helium Privatization Act 
of 1996 (Public Law 104-273), which redefined the government's 
role in helium production. It sought to ease the transition of 
the federal government from an active purchaser and producer of 
helium to simply a distributer of what was currently held in 
the reserve. The 1996 law redefined the primary functions of 
the federal government as simply operating and maintaining the 
helium storage reservoir and pipeline system and providing 
crude helium gas by contract with private companies. It also 
ordered the sale of all but 600 million cubic feet of helium by 
2015 at a price that would recoup the debt. In accordance with 
the 1996 law, in 2005 Bureau of Land Management (BLM) began 
offering for sale an annual set amount of helium at a fixed 
price. BLM was made responsible for operating the Federal 
Helium Reserve and providing enriched crude helium to the 
refiners located along the helium pipeline. It is these 
refiners that refine the crude helium and distribute it to 
downstream users and helium suppliers around the country.

                             CURRENT STATUS

    Today, helium is vital in a variety of industries other 
than defense. It is essential to cooling and maintaining 
superconductive magnets on MRI machines, which accounts for 
more than a quarter of helium used in the United States. It is 
also used in semiconductor manufacturing, fiber optics, 
welding, LCD screens, rocket fuel, medical lasers, as a cooling 
medium for nuclear reactors and in scientific and other 
research. The BLM Federal Helium Reserve continues to be the 
largest supplier of helium to U.S. industry.
    The federal government currently supplies about 30 percent 
of the world's supply of helium. Originally created as a 
federal helium extraction and purification plant, the BLM 
Reserve is today managed in a single reservoir and pipeline 
system located in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. As noted above, 
the 1996 Helium Privatization Act called for the shutdown of 
federal helium refining operations and dismantling of the 
facility by 1999. It also called for the sale and complete 
privatization of the Helium Reserve by 2015.
    The 1996 law established a formula for pricing the helium 
based not on the market price, but on the minimum price 
necessary to recover the $1.3 billion federal debt to build the 
Helium Reserve. As a result of the federal pricing formula, 
users had no incentive to preserve helium, recover it, or 
search for new sources. BLM will be able to pay off the debt 
sooner than expected without selling off all of the helium. 
When the debt is paid off, which is predicted to occur in 
October 2013, the Reserve will close with helium still 
remaining in the Reserve and no way to access it. Without new 
domestic sources of helium available, U.S. industries will be 
forced to look overseas to other helium supplying countries 
such as Algeria, Qatar, and Russia.
    Further, the 1996 legislation did not adequately conform to 
free market principles and inadvertently created a monopoly 
system where the largest beneficiaries of the federal helium 
were a small number of refiners who received annual allotments 
of helium at prices significantly below market value.
    In 2010, and more recently at a Full Committee hearing on 
February 14, 2013, the Government Accountability Office 
testified that BLM is selling crude helium for nearly half the 
market price of refined Grade A helium. Helium refiners 
connected to the pipeline have repeatedly refused to answer 
numerous Committee inquiries regarding the prices they charge 
for BLM refined helium.

                  NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES REPORT

    In 2010, the National Academy of Sciences issued a report 
analyzing the consequences of selling off the helium reserve 
and the relationship between supply and demand for helium on a 
domestic and international basis. The report concluded the 
current helium allotment system at below market value prices 
was having negative impacts on the needs of both current and 
future users of helium in the United States. It concluded that 
the 1996 pricing structure has led to significant increases in 
the price of helium for end users and ``[i]f the reserve 
continues to be so managed, a national, essentially 
nonrenewable resources of increasing importance to research, 
industry, and national security will be dissipated.'' It 
recommended the BLM expand helium sales to a broader array of 
purchases and make the price more transparent.
    The report also concluded the mandated sell-off was 
negatively impacting the needs of both current and future users 
of helium in the United States. The Academy suggested the 
government open the Reserve to wider array of buyers, extend 
the 2015 operating deadline, increase the helium price, extend 
the in-kind program, promote helium recycling programs, and 
develop other helium sources.

                       INSPECTOR GENERAL REPORTS

    In 2008, a U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Inspector 
General report showed that due to lack of oversight of the 
federal helium program, BLM had circumvented the procurement 
process by entering into improper cooperative agreements with 
the refiners along the pipeline. This ``improper relationship'' 
between BLM and the refiners could cost the government and U.S. 
taxpayers over $100 million by 2015.
    In 2010, a follow-up Inspector General report recommended 
more transparency regarding costs and billing processes between 
BLM and the Cliffside Refiners' Limited Partnership. In 2012, 
the DOI Inspector General issued a report concluding BLM is 
selling helium at rates well below market value, the agency 
does not currently have the information or capability to 
determine a fair market price, and that taxpayers would be 
denied millions of dollars in additional revenue if action is 
not taken to correct these inconsistencies.

                                HELIUM-3

    Helium-3 (H-3) is an isotope of helium that is frequently 
used in applications related to national security, medicine, 
industry, and science. H-3 absorbs neutrons, and it is this 
neutron detection that allows the defense industry to use H-3 
to prevent the smuggling of nuclear and radiological materials 
into the U.S. The oil and gas industry also uses neutron 
detectors for well logging. The world is currently experiencing 
an acute shortage of H-3 and if alternative or additional 
supplies are not found this shortage will impact federal 
investments in homeland security, scientific research and other 
areas.
    The most common source of H-3 in the United States is the 
nuclear weapons program. H-3 is a byproduct of the decay of 
tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. Since the federal 
government produces tritium for use in nuclear warheads, the 
tritium needs of the nuclear weapons program is the determining 
factor for how much H-3 is produced.
    Until 2001, H-3 production by the nuclear weapons program 
exceeded the demand, and the program accumulated a stockpile. 
After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the federal 
government began deploying neutron detectors at the U.S. border 
to help secure the nation against smuggled nuclear and 
radiological material. This created a significant new federal 
demand for H-3 while at the same time the use of H-3 in medical 
imaging also increased. As annual demand exceeds the annual 
supply, the stockpile shrinks. Federal officials have projected 
that there is insufficient H-3 to meet likely increasing future 
demand and industry is currently working with the Department of 
Energy to manage future predicted shortfalls.

       THE RESPONSIBLE HELIUM ADMINISTRATION AND STEWARDSHIP ACT

    H.R. 527 will ensure a consistent supply of helium for U.S. 
manufacturers, consumers and researchers while guaranteeing 
American taxpayers receive the best return for the federal 
helium resource. It implements a new auction-based helium 
program that requires no less than two auctions a year. As 
introduced, H.R. 527 had the Secretary conducting more sales. 
Increased numbers of sales will better track and establish a 
market price for helium. However, concerns were raised that 
frequent pricing adjustments would interfere with long term 
contracting. While long term contracts include the ability for 
refiners to impose multiple price increases in any given year, 
taxpayers would be shortchanged as helium refiners increase 
prices to respond to demand while the limited frequency of 
federal auctions may leave taxpayers blind to the real value of 
the helium sold on the market.
    The legislation will also allow all new refiners access to 
the BLM helium pipeline, rather than giving the refiners along 
the pipeline exclusive access to its capacity. One of the most 
detrimental decisions by BLM was the agreements signed in 2000 
that locked in allotment capacity on the pipeline to specific 
refiners. These allotments have stifled competition and left 
only a small handful of companies as the gatekeepers of the 
helium from the Federal Helium Reserve. These gatekeepers have 
been the beneficiaries of the BLM's inability to track market 
pricing for helium and have reaped hundreds of millions of 
dollars in benefits from the sale of BLM helium at prices below 
market value. The legislation directs BLM to guarantee pipeline 
access to helium purchasers to schedule delivery of their 
helium and directs BLM to allow access to the pipeline system 
for new refining capacity to allow greater competition and 
ensure a better price for the taxpayer.
    H.R. 527 will also increase transparency to ensure all 
parties in the helium market will be aware of the current price 
of BLM helium and all planned maintenance operations and shut 
downs of the Federal Helium Reserve. The need for these 
provisions became clear during the summer of 2012 when a month-
long planned BLM shutdown of operations coincided with a 
decrease in production by other private helium sources. This 
``perfect storm'' of helium supply reductions came as a 
surprise to many of the end users of helium who were not 
informed of the coming shutdown until receiving force majeure 
letters from their suppliers informing them their helium 
deliveries would be significantly below contracted levels. The 
lack of transparency by the refiners and BLM over the months 
between the planning for the shutdown and the actual shutdown 
left many helium users with few options for securing helium 
supply and forced many to seek supply from the spot market, in 
which prices are much higher. There is an obligation to keep 
the public, not just the handful of refiners, informed on the 
status and operations of the BLM reserve. As we have seen, 
failure to do so can lead to disruption of the helium markets 
and additional unnecessary costs to helium users.
    Finally, H.R. 527 would ensure the continued and long-term 
use of this federal helium resource by federal users and 
researchers. The legislation includes provisions to ensure that 
federal users and researchers can receive priority delivery of 
taxpayer-owned helium supplies and can purchase this helium at 
reasonable prices. The legislation would also establish a long-
term supply for federal users as the helium in the Reserve 
dwindles.

                            Committee Action

    H.R. 527 was introduced on February 6, 2013, by Congressman 
Doc Hastings (R-WA), and referred to the Committee on Natural 
Resources. On February 14, 2013, the Full Natural Resources 
Committee held a hearing on the bill. On March 20, 2013, the 
Full Natural Resources Committee held a markup of the bill. 
Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) offered an amendment in the nature 
of a substitute to the bill. Congressman Glenn Thompson (R-PA) 
offered an amendment designated .007 to the Hastings amendment 
in the nature of a substitute. The Thompson amendment to the 
Hastings amendment was withdrawn. Congressman Alan S. Lowenthal 
(D-CA) offered an amendment designated .003 to the Hastings 
amendment in the nature of a substitute. The Lowenthal 
amendment to the Hastings amendment was withdrawn. Congressman 
Matthew A. Cartwright (D-PA) offered an amendment designated 
.009 to the Hastings amendment in the nature of a substitute. 
The Cartwright amendment to the Hastings amendment was 
withdrawn. The amendment in the nature of a substitute was then 
adopted by voice vote. The bill, as amended, was ordered 
favorably reported to the House of Representatives by voice 
vote.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title

    This section designates the bill as the ``Responsible 
Helium and Stewardship Act of 2012.''

Section 2. Definitions

    This section provides definitions for terms used in the 
bill.

Section 3. Sale and auction of crude helium

    This section continues and completes the privatization of 
the Helium Reserve over a three stage process during the next 
decade until the Reserve is emptied of helium. The first stage 
is between enactment of the bill and the final debt payoff to 
the Treasury, expected around October 1, 2013.
    The second stage will continue the selloff of the crude 
helium remaining in the Reserve until BLM estimates there is 
only 3 billion cubic feet remaining. During this stage, BLM 
shall implement a new sale and pricing structure to ensure that 
taxpayers get the best return for our valuable resource. 
Specifically, the bill establishes a new system for sealed bid 
auctions for predetermined volumes unless the Secretary of the 
Interior determines an alternative sales method will result in 
more revenue. The Secretary will conduct the auctions when 
determined necessary for a reliable supply of helium, but no 
less frequently than two times a year. In these sales,
          1. 60% of the volume of crude being sold will be 
        available for refiners along the pipeline and for 
        entities with refining tolling agreements in place 
        prior to the auction;
          2. 20% of the crude helium will be available to any 
        bidder under specific conditions and with drawdown 
        requirements; and
          3. Up to an additional 20% will be made available 
        equal to the amount withdrawn from the Reserve under 
        those amounts sold in section 2 above at the previous 
        auction.
    The third stage will provide helium solely for federal 
users and researchers and begins when the remaining Reserve 
volume equals 3 billion cubic feet. This stage will continue 
until the recoverable helium in the reserve is expended.
    The Secretary may conduct a forward auction once per fiscal 
year for up to 10 percent of the volume of crude helium to be 
made available in the following year to ensure a consistent 
supply of helium and allow users to plan for future business 
conditions.
    The Secretary will require that all participants in the 
auction are involved in the helium industry and will not allow 
any entity to purchase more than 20 percent of the helium 
available for auction. The Secretary has the authority to 
adjust this limitation based upon number of bidders in the 
auction.
    The Secretary will charge a storage fee for helium that 
remains in the helium reserve 180 days after the helium has 
been auctioned. This fee will increase in a way that will 
encourage the withdrawal of the purchased helium no later than 
one year after the date of the auction.
    The Secretary will determine a minimum sale price for 
auctions based on a confidential survey performed by a 
qualified independent third party, current market crude helium 
prices and the average cost among helium refiners. The 
Secretary has the authority to increase the minimum price by an 
additional 10% if a higher minimum price will result in greater 
conservation of the Federal Helium Reserve.
    The Secretary will take any steps necessary to prevent 
fraudulent acts in the auctions and may require any records the 
Secretary deems necessary to ensure entities are complying with 
reporting requirements.
    Funds from the auction will be credited to the Helium 
Production Fund. The funds will be used for administration of 
the Federal Helium Program, debt repayment, and capital 
investments and maintenance of the Helium Reserve. Excess funds 
will be deposited into the Treasury.

Section 4. BLM transparency requirements to facilitate market and 
        supply chain information

    BLM will open up additional pipeline capacity to entities 
who wish to open refining capacity on the pipeline and ensure 
that anyone who purchases helium at auction will have access to 
delivery of their helium.
    The Secretary will grant pipeline access to helium 
purchasers using priority planning, taking into consideration 
price paid for the helium, auction order of the purchase, and 
helium sold as a result of in-kind purchases, among other 
factors.
    BLM will increase transparency by posting on its website 
planned maintenance, closures of the Helium Reserve, duration 
of closure, and recordings of minutes of meetings between the 
BLM and the Cliffside Refiners Limited Partnership.

Section 5. Helium resource assessment and helium-3 separation

    This section authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to 
conduct a national helium assessment within two years of 
enactment that includes a 10-year forecast of domestic demand 
for helium and an inventory of uses of helium in the United 
States. The Secretary will also issue a report on the 
feasibility of increasing helium-3 production.

            Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

                    Compliance With House Rule XIII

    1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and 
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be 
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(2)(B) 
of that rule provides that this requirement does not apply when 
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted 
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974. Under clause 3(c)(3) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has 
received the following cost estimate for this bill from the 
Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

H.R. 527--Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act

    Summary: H.R. 527 would authorize the Bureau of Land 
Management (BLM) to retain proceeds from the sale of helium 
from the Federal Helium Reserve to pay for the costs of 
operating the reserve. The bill also would require BLM to 
conduct domestic and global assessments of the supply of helium 
and to prepare several reports related to helium production on 
federal lands.
    Based on information provided by BLM, CBO estimates that 
enacting H.R. 527 would increase net offsetting receipts (a 
credit against direct spending) by $340 million over the 2014-
2023 period; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. In 
addition, CBO estimates that completing the assessments and 
additional reports required under the bill would cost $11 
million over the 2014-2023 period, assuming appropriation of 
the necessary amounts. Enacting H.R. 527 would not affect 
revenues.
    The bill contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of H.R. 527 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 300 
(natural resources and environment).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                    By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                         2014     2015    2016    2017    2018    2019   2020   2021   2022   2023  2014-2018  2014-2023
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               CHANGES IN DIRECT SPENDING

Estimated Budget Authority...........................     -150     -105     -80     -55     -30     -5     25     20     20     20      -420       -340
Estimated Outlays....................................     -150     -105     -80     -55     -30     -5     25     20     20     20      -420       -340

                                                      CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION

Estimated Authorization Level........................        5        5       *       *       *      *      *      *      *      *        10         11
Estimated Outlays....................................        5        5       *       *       *      *      *      *      *      *        10        11
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: * = less than $500,000.

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that the 
legislation will be enacted during fiscal year 2013 and that 
the necessary amounts will be appropriated for each fiscal 
year.

                            DIRECT SPENDING

    H.R. 527 would authorize BLM to retain proceeds from the 
sale of helium from the Federal Helium Reserve to pay for the 
costs of operating the reserve. Under current law, CBO expects 
that the agency's authority to retain those proceeds will end 
in 2013. After 2013, any funds necessary to operate the Federal 
Helium Reserve (and sell helium) would need to be appropriated 
by the Congress. Thus, under current law, any offsetting 
receipts from those sales would be contingent on the 
appropriation of such funds.
    Because the legislation would authorize BLM to retain 
proceeds from helium sales to cover the costs of operating the 
Federal Helium Reserve after 2013, CBO estimates that enacting 
H.R. 527 would lead to additional helium sales, increasing net 
offsetting receipts by $340 million over the 2014-2023 period.
    Under the bill, BLM would be authorized to sell helium to 
private entities for commercial uses until the volume of 
recoverable helium at the Federal Helium Reserve is drawn down 
to a specified level. After that date, BLM would be authorized 
to sell helium only to other federal entities for medical and 
scientific uses. Based on information provided by BLM, CBO 
expects that commercial sales would cease at the end of 2019. 
Over the 2014-2019 period, we estimate that gross proceeds from 
the commercial sale of helium would total $585 million and the 
costs to operate the Federal Helium Reserve would total $160 
million, resulting in a net increase in offsetting receipts 
totaling $425 million.
    Because CBO expects that BLM would no longer receive funds 
from the sale of helium to nonfederal sources after 2019, we 
expect that the agency would spend some of the remaining 
proceeds to fund the operation of the Federal Helium Reserve 
over the 2020-2023 period. Based on information provided by 
BLM, CBO estimates that the agency would spend about $85 
million over that period to operate the reserve.

                   SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION

    H.R. 527 would require BLM, in coordination with other 
agencies, to conduct assessments that would quantify the amount 
of helium resources in the United States and worldwide. The 
bill also would require the agency to complete various reports 
related to helium production on federal lands. Based on 
information from the Department of the Interior regarding the 
costs of carrying out similar activities, CBO estimates that 
conducting the assessments would cost $10 million over the 
2014-2015 period and completing the reports would cost less 
than $100,000 a year over the 2014-2023 period, assuming 
appropriation of the necessary amounts.
    Pay-As-You-Go considerations: The Statutory Pay-As-You-Go 
Act of 2010 establishes budget-reporting and enforcement 
procedures for legislation affecting direct spending or 
revenues. The net changes in outlays that are subject to those 
pay-as-you-go procedures are shown in the following table.

          CBO ESTIMATE OF PAY-AS-YOU-GO EFFECTS FOR H.R. 527 AS ORDERED REPORTED BY THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES ON MARCH 20, 2013
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                               ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                 2013    2014     2015    2016    2017    2018    2019   2020   2021   2022   2023  2013-2018  2013-2023
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                       NET INCREASE OR DECREASE (-) IN THE DEFICIT

Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Impact................      0     -150     -105     -80     -55     -30     -5     25     20     20     20      -420       -340
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 527 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on state, local, or 
tribal governments.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Jeff LaFave; Impact on 
State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Melissa Merrell; Impact 
on the Private Sector: Amy Petz.
    Estimate approved by: Theresa Gullo; Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

    2. Section 308(a) of Congressional Budget Act. As required 
by clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives and section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget 
Act of 1974, this bill does not contain any new budget 
authority, credit authority, or an increase or decrease in 
revenues or tax expenditures. Based on information provided by 
Bureau of Land Management, CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 527 
would increase net offsetting receipts (a credit against direct 
spending) by $340 million over the 2014-2023 period; therefore, 
pay-as-you-go procedures apply. In addition, CBO estimates that 
completing the assessments and additional reports required 
under the bill would cost $11 million over the 2014-2023 
period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts. 
Enacting H.R. 527 would not affect revenues.
    3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill is to amend the Helium Act to complete 
the privatization of the Federal helium reserve in a 
competitive market fashion that ensures stability in the helium 
markets while protecting the interests of American taxpayers.

                           Earmark Statement

    This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                    Compliance With Public Law 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                       Compliance With H. Res. 5

    Directed Rule Making. The Chairman does not believe that 
this bill directs any executive branch official to conduct any 
specific rule-making proceedings.
    Duplication of Existing Programs. This bill does not 
establish or reauthorize a program of the federal government 
known to be duplicative of another program. Such program was 
not included in any report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139 
or identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance published pursuant to the Federal Program 
Information Act (Public Law 95-220, as amended by Public Law 
98-169) as relating to other programs.

                Preemption of State, Local or Tribal Law

    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

HELIUM ACT

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


  Sec. 2. As used in this Act:
          (1) The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of the 
        Interior[;].
          (2) The term ``person'' means any individual, 
        corporation, partnership, firm, association, trust, 
        estate, public or private institution, or State or 
        political subdivision thereof[; and].
          (3) The terms ``helium-bearing natural gas'' and 
        ``helium-gas mixture'' mean, respectively, natural gas 
        and gas mixtures containing three-tenths of 1 per 
        centum or more of helium by volume.
          (4) Federal helium reserve.--
                  (A) In general.--The term ``Federal Helium 
                Reserve'' means the Bureau of Land Management 
                Cliffside Gas Field and supporting 
                infrastructure.
                  (B) Inclusions.--The term ``Federal Helium 
                Reserve'' includes--
                          (i) the Cliffside Gas Field helium 
                        storage reservoir; and
                          (ii) all associated infrastructure 
                        owned, leased, or managed under 
                        contract by the Secretary for storage, 
                        transportation, withdrawal, 
                        purification, or management of helium.
          (5) Qualifying domestic helium transaction.--The term 
        ``qualifying domestic helium transaction''--
                  (A) except as provided in subparagraph (B), 
                means any new or newly renegotiated agreement 
                for the purchase or sale of at least 15,000,000 
                standard cubic feet of crude helium or bulk 
                liquid helium delivered in the United States in 
                the most recent full fiscal year; and
                  (B) does not include any purchase of crude 
                helium from the Secretary.
          (6) Tolling agreement.--The term ``tolling 
        agreement'' means an agreement between a helium refiner 
        and another party under which the helium refiner agrees 
        to process the other person's helium at an agreed upon 
        price.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  [Sec. 6. (a) The Department of Defense, the Atomic Energy 
Commission, and other agencies of the Federal Government, to 
the extent that supplies are readily available, shall purchase 
all major requirements of helium from persons who have entered 
into enforceable contracts to purchase an equivalent amount of 
crude helium from the Secretary.
  [(b) The Secretary is authorized to sell crude helium for 
Federal, medical, scientific, and commercial uses in such 
quantities and under such terms and conditions as he 
determines. 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.
  [(c) Sales of crude helium by the Secretary shall be at 
prices established by him which shall be adequate to cover all 
costs incurred in carrying out the provisions of this chapter 
and to repay to the United States by deposit in the Treasury, 
all funds required to be repaid to the United States as of 
October 1, 1995 under this section (referred to in this 
subsection 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 by--
          [(1) dividing the outstanding amount of such 
        repayable amounts by the volume (in million cubic feet) 
        of crude helium owned by the United States and stored 
        in the Bureau of Mines Cliffside Field at the time of 
        the sale concerned, and
          [(2) adjusting the amount determined under paragraph 
        (1) by the Consumer Price Index for years beginning 
        after December 31, 1995.
  [(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).
  [(e)(1) All moneys received under this Act, including moneys 
from sale of helium or other products resulting from helium 
operations and from the sale of excess property shall be 
credited to the helium production fund, which shall be 
available without fiscal year limitation, for carrying out the 
provisions of this Act, including any research relating to 
helium carried out by the Department of the Interior. Amounts 
accumulating in said fund in excess of amounts the Secretary 
deems necessary to carry out this Act and contracts negotiated 
hereunder shall be paid to the Treasury and credited against 
the amounts required to be repaid to the Treasury under 
subsection (c) of this section.
  [(2)(A) 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).
  [(B) On 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 general fund of the Treasury.]

SEC. 6. SALE OF HELIUM.

  (a) Phase A: Finalizing Debt Payoff.--
          (1) In general.--Subject to paragraph (2), the 
        Secretary shall offer for sale crude helium for 
        Federal, medical, research, scientific, and commercial 
        uses in such quantities, at such times, and under such 
        conditions as the Secretary determines necessary to 
        carry out this subsection with minimum market 
        disruption.
          (2) Minimum quantity.--The Secretary shall offer for 
        sale during each fiscal year under paragraph (1) a 
        quantity of crude helium equivalent to the quantity of 
        crude helium produced from the Federal Helium Reserve 
        during fiscal year 2012.
          (3) In-kind purchase by federal agencies and 
        grantees.--Federal agencies, and holders of 1 or more 
        Federal research grants, may purchase refined helium 
        under this subsection for Federal, medical, research 
        and scientific uses from persons who have entered into 
        enforceable contracts to purchase an equivalent 
        quantity of crude helium from the Secretary.
          (4) Prices and determinations.--Sales of crude helium 
        by the Secretary under this subsection shall be at 
        prices established by the Secretary that shall not be 
        less than the price in the last sale of crude helium 
        from the Federal Helium Reserve before the date of 
        enactment of the Responsible Helium Administration and 
        Stewardship Act, except that any sale to a person 
        referred to in paragraph (3) for a purchase authorized 
        by that paragraph shall be at a price specified by the 
        Secretary.
          (5) Duration.--This subsection applies during the 
        period--
                  (A) beginning on the date of enactment of the 
                Responsible Helium Administration and 
                Stewardship Act; and
                  (B) ending on the expiration of the one-year 
                period following such date of enactment.
  (b) Phase B: Maximizing Total Recovery of Helium and 
Increasing Returns to the American Taxpayer.--
          (1) In general.--The Secretary shall offer for sale 
        at auction, as described in subsection (d), crude 
        helium for medical, research, scientific, and 
        commercial uses in such quantities, at such times, and 
        under such conditions as the Secretary determines 
        necessary--
                  (A) to maximize total recovery and 
                conservation of helium from the Federal Helium 
                Reserve;
                  (B) to manage crude helium sales according to 
                the ability of the Secretary to extract and 
                produce helium from the Federal Helium Reserve;
                  (C) to respond to helium market supply and 
                demand and minimize market disruption; and
                  (D) to give priority to meeting the helium 
                demand of Federal users through purchases under 
                paragraph (2).
          (2) In-kind purchase by federal agencies and 
        grantees.--Any Federal agency, and any holder of 1 or 
        more Federal research grants, may purchase refined 
        helium for Federal, medical, research, and scientific 
        uses from an eligible person. The Secretary shall then 
        provide an equivalent volume of crude helium to the 
        eligible person as if the eligible person was the 
        successful bidder for the helium at auction. Provision 
        of helium by the Secretary under this paragraph shall 
        not be considered a sale of helium by the Secretary at 
        auction. The Secretary shall provide such helium at the 
        minimum price established by the Secretary for the most 
        recent auction held under this subsection or such other 
        price as may be specified by the Secretary.
          (3) Eligible person.--For purposes of this 
        subsection, the term ``eligible person'' means a helium 
        distributer who is registered as such with the 
        Secretary.
          (4) Duration.--This subsection applies during the 
        period--
                  (A) beginning on the expiration of the period 
                described in subsection (a)(5)(B); and
                  (B) ending on the date on which the volume of 
                recoverable crude helium at the Federal Helium 
                Reserve (other than privately owned quantities 
                of crude helium stored temporarily at the 
                Federal Helium Reserve under section 5 and this 
                section) is 3,000,000,000 standard cubic feet.
          (5) Maximum annual sales.--Notwithstanding any 
        provision of subsection (d), for each fiscal year, the 
        Secretary may not offer or provide for sale under this 
        subsection a total volume of crude helium that exceeds 
        the lesser of--
                  (A) the projected maximum total production 
                capacity of the Federal Helium Reserve during 
                that fiscal year; and
                  (B) the maximum refining capacity of persons 
                connected by pipeline to the Federal Helium 
                Reserve during that fiscal year.
  (c) Phase C: Access for Federal Users.--
          (1) In general.--The Secretary may offer for sale 
        crude helium for Federal uses (including medical, 
        research, and scientific uses) in such quantities, at 
        such times, and under such conditions as the Secretary 
        determines necessary to carry out this subsection.
          (2) Purchase by federal agencies and grantees.--
        Federal agencies, and holders of 1 or more Federal 
        research grants related to helium or the use of helium, 
        may purchase refined helium under this subsection for 
        Federal uses (including medical, research, and 
        scientific uses) from persons who have entered into 
        enforceable contracts to purchase an equivalent 
        quantity of crude helium from the Secretary.
          (3) Effective date.--This subsection applies 
        beginning on the day after the date described in 
        subsection (b)(4)(B).
  (d) Auction and Minimum Prices Determination.--
          (1) In general.--Sales of crude helium by the 
        Secretary in auctions under subsection (b) shall be 
        conducted under the conditions described in this 
        section and at no less than the minimum price 
        established by the Secretary.
          (2) Auction.--The Secretary shall conduct such 
        auctions of crude helium as soon as practical but no 
        later than beginning 180 days after the first day of 
        the period described in subsection (b)(4), under the 
        following conditions:
                  (A) 60 percent of the volume of crude helium 
                made available in each auction shall be made 
                available to entities that can show the 
                Secretary they have either adequate refining 
                capacity or tolling agreements for refining in 
                place, in accordance with the conditions set 
                forth in paragraph (3).
                  (B) 20 percent of the volume of crude helium 
                made available in each auction shall be made 
                available to any bidder, in accordance with the 
                conditions set forth in paragraph (3).
                  (C) In each auction after the first auction 
                under this subsection after the date of the 
                enactment of the Responsible Helium 
                Administration and Stewardship Act, the 
                Secretary shall make available an additional 
                volume of crude helium, in an amount equivalent 
                to the amount made available under subparagraph 
                (B) that the Secretary certifies can be 
                refined, through tolling agreements or 
                otherwise. Of such additional volume, a person 
                may not acquire in the auction a volume in 
                excess of the volume they demonstrate to the 
                Secretary they have the ability to refine 
                through either refining capacity or tolling 
                agreements.
                  (D) The Secretary shall conduct such auctions 
                at such times as the Secretary determines 
                necessary to ensure a reliable supply of helium 
                and a fair return to taxpayers, but no less 
                frequently than 2 times each fiscal year.
                  (E) For purposes of the first auction under 
                this subsection after the date of the enactment 
                of the Responsible Helium Administration and 
                Stewardship Act, the Secretary may revise the 
                percentage under subparagraph (A) so as to make 
                available for auction 100 percent of the volume 
                of crude helium intended to be offered.
                  (F) The Secretary may adjust the percentages 
                and amount specified in subparagraphs (A) 
                through (C), respectively, in any auction if 
                the Secretary determines the adjustment is 
                necessary to--
                          (i) respond to market supply and 
                        demand and minimize market disruption; 
                        or
                          (ii) increase participation in helium 
                        auctions.
                  (G) The Secretary may conduct an auction no 
                more frequently than once each fiscal year of 
                an amount of helium equal to up to 10 percent 
                of the volume of crude helium to be made 
                available at auction during the following 
                fiscal year. Such amount of crude helium shall 
                be made available to any bidder, in accordance 
                with the conditions set forth in paragraph (3). 
                Notwithstanding paragraph (3)(C), for crude 
                helium sold in such an auction the Secretary 
                shall begin charging a storage fee under clause 
                (i) of that paragraph beginning 1 year after 
                the date of such auction, and shall begin 
                charging increasing storage fees under clause 
                (ii) of that paragraph beginning 270 days after 
                beginning charging storage fees under clause 
                (i) of that paragraph.
          (3) Auction conditions.--
                  (A) Bidding method.--The Secretary shall 
                conduct each auction by sealed bid for 
                predetermined volume lots, unless the Secretary 
                determines that an alternative bidding method 
                may result in more revenue to the Federal 
                Government or may increase participation in the 
                auction.
                  (B) Bidder qualifications and limits.--In 
                carrying out an auction under subsection (b), 
                the Secretary--
                          (i) may accept bids only from persons 
                        the Secretary determines are seeking to 
                        purchase helium for their own use, for 
                        refining, or for delivery to users; and
                          (ii) may not award to a person more 
                        than 30 percent of the total volume of 
                        crude helium offered in that auction, 
                        except that the Secretary may adjust 
                        such limitation based on the number of 
                        bidders in the auction.
                  (C) Storage fees.--In each auction the 
                Secretary--
                          (i) shall begin charging each winning 
                        bidder a storage fee for crude helium 
                        purchased by the bidder that remains in 
                        the Federal Helium Reserve, beginning 
                        on the date the Secretary receives 
                        payment of the purchase price for the 
                        helium; and
                          (ii) beginning 270 days after the 
                        date of the auction, shall charge 
                        increasing storage fees that will 
                        encourage the withdrawal of the helium 
                        no later than 2 years after the date of 
                        the auction.
          (4) Determination of minimum sale price.--The 
        Secretary shall make a determination of the minimum 
        sale price for sales described in paragraph (1) using--
                  (A) a confidential survey of qualifying 
                domestic helium transactions to which any 
                holder of a contract with the Secretary for the 
                acceptance, storage, and redelivery of crude 
                helium in the Cliffside Gas Field helium 
                storage reservoir is a party;
                  (B) current market crude helium prices as 
                represented by the sale price at any auction 
                held by the Secretary in the preceding 2 years;
                  (C) the volume-weighted average cost among 
                helium refiners, producers, and liquefiers, in 
                dollars per thousand cubic feet, of converting 
                gaseous crude helium into bulk liquid helium;
                  (D) the additional layer of cost and profit 
                associated with the sale or resale of bulk 
                liquid helium; and
                  (E) the sale price for crude helium offered 
                in the most recent auction under paragraph 
                (2)(G).
          (5) Authority of secretary.--The Secretary shall--
                  (A) require all persons that are parties to a 
                contract with the Secretary for the acceptance, 
                storage, and redelivery of crude helium to 
                disclose, on a strictly confidential basis in 
                dollars per thousand cubic feet, the weighted 
                average price of all crude helium and bulk 
                liquid helium purchased, sold, or processed by 
                the persons in all qualifying domestic helium 
                transactions during the fiscal year;
                  (B) appoint a qualified independent third 
                party to perform data collection and analysis 
                for the purposes of the survey under paragraph 
                (4)(A); and
                  (C) adopt such administrative policies and 
                procedures as the Secretary considers necessary 
                and reasonable to ensure robust protection of 
                the confidentiality of data submitted by 
                private persons.
          (6) Changes in minimum price.--If the Secretary 
        believes that the minimum price as determined by the 
        survey under paragraph (4)(A) may not be reflective of 
        the current market value of helium, or if a higher 
        minimum price may result in greater conservation of the 
        Federal crude helium resource, the Secretary may change 
        the minimum price charged for crude helium sold under 
        this section by up to 10 percent of the price 
        determined under paragraph (4). If at any sale in which 
        the minimum price is increased under this paragraph all 
        crude helium offered is sold at the increased price, 
        the Secretary shall consider that increased price to be 
        the minimum price determined under paragraph (4) for 
        all future sales of crude helium under this section 
        unless that price is further changed in accordance with 
        this paragraph.
          (7) Ensuring fair and nondiscriminatory acts and 
        practices.--The Secretary may issue such rules and 
        regulations with respect to ensure bidding, transfer, 
        and refining of helium produced from or held in the 
        Federal Helium Reserve as may be necessary to ensure 
        fair and nondiscriminatory acts and practices.
          (8) Auction records.--
                  (A) Furnishing records.--Every person 
                participating in auctions of helium from the 
                Federal Helium Reserve shall furnish to the 
                Secretary on request such records of 
                transactions in helium auctions as the 
                Secretary may require to reconstruct bidding or 
                trading in the course of a particular inquiry 
                or investigation being conducted by the 
                Secretary for enforcement or surveillance 
                purposes. In requiring information pursuant to 
                this paragraph, the Secretary shall specify the 
                information required, the period for which it 
                is required, and the time and date on which the 
                information must be furnished.
                  (B) Reporting requirements.--The Secretary 
                may issue rules to require persons 
                participating in helium auctions to file such 
                reports as the Secretary determines to be 
                necessary for purposes of this Act.
                  (C) Recordkeeping requirements.--Rules under 
                this subsection may require specified persons 
                to make and keep for prescribed periods such 
                records as the Secretary determines are 
                necessary or appropriate to ensure that such 
                persons can comply with reporting requirements 
                under this subsection.
                  (D) Limitation on disclosure of 
                information.--Notwithstanding any other 
                provision of law, the Secretary shall not be 
                compelled to disclose any proprietary 
                information required to be kept or reported 
                under this subsection. Nothing in this 
                subsection authorizes the Secretary to withhold 
                information from Congress, prevents the 
                Secretary from complying with a request for 
                information from any other Federal department 
                or agency requesting information for purposes 
                within the scope of its jurisdiction, or 
                prevents the Secretary from complying with an 
                order of a court of the United States in an 
                action brought by the United States or by the 
                Secretary.
  (e) Helium Production Fund.--
          (1) In general.--All amounts received under this Act 
        shall be credited to the Helium Production Fund, which 
        shall be available without fiscal year limitation for 
        purposes considered necessary by the Secretary to carry 
        out this subsection.
          (2) Administrative expenses.--Amounts in the Helium 
        Production Fund may be used by the Secretary to conduct 
        helium auctions and otherwise administer this Act.
          (3) Repayment amounts.--During the period described 
        in subsection (a)(4), amounts in the Helium Production 
        Fund in excess of amounts the Secretary considers 
        necessary to conduct helium auctions and otherwise 
        administer this Act shall be paid to the general fund 
        of the Treasury and credited against all amounts 
        required to be repaid to the United States under this 
        Act as of October 1, 1995.
          (4) Capital investments and maintenance.--Amounts in 
        the Helium Production Fund in excess of amounts the 
        Secretary considers necessary to carry out paragraphs 
        (1) through (3) may be used to fund the following 
        capital investments in upgrades and maintenance at the 
        Federal Helium reserve:
                  (A) Wellhead maintenance at the Cliffside Gas 
                Field helium storage reservoir.
                  (B) Capital investments in maintenance and 
                upgrades of facilities that pressurize the 
                Cliffside Gas Field helium storage reservoir.
                  (C) Capital investments in maintenance and 
                upgrades of equipment related to the storage, 
                withdrawal, transportation, purification, and 
                sale of crude helium at the Cliffside Gas Field 
                helium storage reservoir.
                  (D) Any other scheduled or unscheduled 
                maintenance of the Cliffside Gas Field helium 
                storage reservoir and helium pipeline.
          (5) Excess funds.--Amounts in the Helium Production 
        Fund in excess of amounts the Secretary considers 
        necessary to carry out paragraphs (1) through (4) shall 
        be paid to the general fund of the Treasury.
  (f) Extraction of Helium From Deposits on Federal Land.--All 
amounts received by the Secretary from the sale or disposition 
of crude helium on Federal land shall be paid to the general 
fund of the Treasury and credited against all amounts required 
to be repaid to the United States under this Act as of October 
1, 1995.
  (g) Maintenance of Helium Supply.--The Secretary shall ensure 
that there is no disruption in the supply of helium from the 
Federal Helium Reserve during the transition between phases of 
helium sales under subsections (a), (b), and (c).

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 15. PIPELINE ACCESS.

  (a) Annual Report.--The Secretary, acting through the Bureau 
of Land Management, shall make available on the Internet the 
current refining capacity on the Federal Helium Reserve 
pipeline, including--
          (1) refinery capacity and future capacity estimates;
          (2) ownership of federally auctioned helium held in 
        the Federal Helium Reserve;
          (3) volume of helium delivered to individual buyers 
        through such pipeline;
          (4) for each helium refiner--
                  (A) the number of tolling agreements entered 
                into before October 1, 2013; and
                  (B) for each fiscal year thereafter--
                          (i) the number of tolling agreements 
                        entered into;
                          (ii) the number of tolling requests 
                        received; and
                          (iii) the total volume of helium 
                        refined under each tolling agreement 
                        entered into;
          (5) pipeline pressure constraints; and
          (6) other factors that will increase transparency for 
        persons interested in entering refining contracts with 
        existing refiners.
  (b) New Refining Capacity.--The Secretary shall take any 
applications for new refining capacity on the Federal Helium 
Reserve pipeline. To create more competition, any new refining 
capacity added to the Federal Helium Reserve pipeline system 
shall be granted access to crude helium that is equal to the 
access provided to existing refining facilities.
  (c) Access by Purchasers of Helium.--The Secretary shall 
manage Federal Helium Reserve pipeline access in a competitive 
manner to ensure that all persons purchasing helium have equal 
access to timing and delivery of the helium, subject to the 
capacity of the system.
  (d) Scheduling Deliveries.--The Secretary shall, to the 
greatest extent practicable, make the scheduling of crude 
helium deliveries through the Federal Helium Reserve pipeline 
open and transparent to all purchasers of helium through the 
auction process, and to the public if the Secretary believes 
that it is in the national interest.
  (e) Scheduling Priority.--
          (1) In general.--In scheduling crude helium 
        deliveries through the Federal Helium Reserve pipeline 
        the Secretary shall grant pipeline access in the 
        following order of priority:
                  (A) Helium held in the Reserve as a result of 
                a purchase under subsection (b)(2).
                  (B) Helium sold at auction being delivered to 
                fulfill a tolling agreement.
                  (C) Other helium sold at auction.
                  (D) Helium held in the Reserve as a result of 
                a crude helium exchange resulting from any 
                temporary shutdown of the Reserve or of a 
                refinery on the Reserve pipeline.
                  (E) Helium held in inventory in the Reserve 
                before the date of enactment of the Responsible 
                Helium Administration and Stewardship Act.
          (2) In scheduling such deliveries of helium described 
        in each of subparagraphs (A) through (E) of paragraph 
        (1), the Secretary shall grant pipeline access based on 
        the following order of priority:
                  (A) The price paid to the United States for 
                the helium, giving higher priority to helium 
                for which a greater price was paid.
                  (B) The date the helium was purchased from 
                the Secretary, giving higher priority to helium 
                purchased on an earlier date.
                  (C) Any other factor the Secretary considers 
                appropriate to prioritize delivery.

SEC. 16. BLM REPORTING REQUIREMENTS TO FACILITATE SUPPLY CHAIN 
                    INFORMATION.

  (a) In General.--In order to provide the market with 
appropriate and timely information affecting the helium 
resource, the Director of the Bureau of Land Management shall 
establish, no later than 90 days after the date of enactment of 
the Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act, a 
real-time reporting process, including reporting over the 
Internet, to provide data that will affect the helium industry, 
including such effects for all persons in such industry from 
crude helium suppliers to end users.
  (b) Included Information.--Information provided under this 
section shall include the following:
          (1) Annual maintenance schedules and quarterly 
        updates thereof, which shall be available on the 
        Internet, to the extent practicable, and shall include 
        the following:
                  (A) The date and duration of planned 
                shutdowns of the Federal Helium Reserve 
                pipeline.
                  (B) The nature of work to be undertaken, 
                whether routine, extended, or extraordinary.
                  (C) The anticipated impact on the helium 
                supply.
                  (D) The efforts to minimize any impact on the 
                supply chain.
                  (E) Any concerns regarding maintenance of the 
                Federal Helium Reserve pipeline, pressure of 
                such pipeline, or deviation from normal 
                operation of such pipeline.
          (2) For each unplanned outage, the following:
                  (A) The beginning of the outage.
                  (B) The expected duration of outage.
                  (C) A description of the problem.
                  (D) The estimated impact on helium supply.
                  (E) A plan to correct problems, an estimate 
                of the potential timeframe for correction, and 
                the likelihood of plan success within the 
                timeframe.
                  (F) Efforts to minimize negative impacts on 
                the helium supply chain.
                  (G) Updates on repair status and the 
                anticipated online date.
          (3) Minutes of meetings between the Bureau of Land 
        Management and the Cliffside Refiners Limited 
        Partnership, including--
                  (A) publication of the minutes of each 
                meeting between the Bureau of Land Management 
                and the Cliffside Refiners Limited Partnership, 
                including attendees and their affiliations, on 
                the Internet site of the Bureau within 1 week 
                after the meeting; and
                  (B) indication in the minutes of any action 
                taken that could affect the supply or operating 
                status related to the Federal helium program.
          (4) Current predictions of the lifespan of the 
        Federal Helium Reserve, including how much longer such 
        crude helium supply will be available based on current 
        and forecasted demand and the projected maximum 
        production capacity of the Federal Helium Reserve for 
        the following fiscal year.

SEC. [15] 17. REPORT ON HELIUM.

  (a) NAS Study and Report.--Not later than three years before 
the date on which the Secretary commences offering for sale 
crude helium under section 8, the Secretary shall enter into 
appropriate arrangements with the National Academy of Sciences 
to study and report on whether such disposal of helium reserves 
will have a substantial adverse effect on United States 
scientific, technical, biomedical, or national security 
interests.
  (b) Transmission to Congress.--Not later than 18 months 
before the date on which the Secretary commences offering for 
sale crude helium under section 8, the Secretary shall transmit 
to the Congress--
          (1) the report of the National Academy under 
        subsection (a);
          (2) the findings of the Secretary, after 
        consideration of the conclusions of the National 
        Academy under subsection (a) and after consultation 
        with the United States helium industry and with heads 
        of affected Federal agencies, as to whether the 
        disposal of the helium reserve under section 8 will 
        have a substantial adverse effect on the United States 
        helium industry, United States, helium market or United 
        States, scientific, technological, biomedical, or 
        national security interests; and
          (3) if the Secretary determines that selling the 
        crude helium reserves under the formula established in 
        section 8 will have a substantial adverse effect on the 
        United States helium industry, the United States helium 
        market or United States scientific, technological, 
        biomedical, or national security interest, the 
        Secretary shall make recommendations, including 
        recommendations for proposed legislation, as may be 
        necessary to avoid such adverse effects.
  Sec. [17] 18. If any provision of this Act, or the 
application of such provision to any person or circumstance, is 
held invalid, the remainder of this Act or the application of 
such provision to persons or circumstances other than those as 
to which it is held invalid, shall not be affected thereby.

                  Exchange of Committee Correspondence


                          House of Representatives,
                            Committee on Natural Resources,
                                    Washington, DC, April 16, 2013.

Hon. Lamar Smith, Chairman,
Committee on Science, Space and Technology,
Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC.

    Dear Mr. Chairman: I am writing regarding the 
jurisdictional interest of the Committee on Science, Space and 
Technology over provisions in H.R. 527, the Responsible Helium 
Administration and Stewardship Act. This bill was solely 
referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, and the 
Committee ordered it reported with an amendment on March 20, 
2013, by voice vote.
    A bipartisan bill, H.R. 527 amends the Helium Act to 
complete the privatization of the Federal Helium Reserve 
created under that Act in a competitive market fashion that 
ensures stability in the helium markets while protecting the 
interests of the American taxpayer.
    Because of the importance of advancing this legislation to 
the House Floor in an expeditious manner, the Committee on 
Natural Resources requests that you waive a jurisdictional 
claim of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on 
this bill. By waiving a claim on H.R. 527, the jurisdictional 
prerogatives of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology 
will not be prejudiced in any way. Moreover, if a conference on 
the bill becomes necessary, I would support your request to 
have conferees named from your committee to protect your 
jurisdictional interests.
    Thank you for your consideration of my request. I would be 
happy to include this letter and your response in the written 
report on H.R. 527 or included in the Congressional Record 
during debate on the bill.
            Sincerely,
                                              Doc Hastings,
                                                          Chairman.
                                                   
                          House of Representatives,
               Committee on Science, Space, and Technology,
                                    Washington, DC, April 18, 2013.

Hon. Doc Hastings, Chairman,
Committee on Natural Resources,
Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC.

    Dear Chairman Hastings: I am writing to you concerning the 
jurisdictional interest of the Committee on Science, Space, and 
Technology in H.R. 527, the ``Responsible Helium Administration 
and Stewardship Act.'' The bill contains provisions that fall 
within the jurisdiction of the Committee on Science, Space, and 
Technology.
    I recognize and appreciate the desire to bring this 
legislation before the House of Representatives in an 
expeditious manner, and accordingly, I will waive further 
consideration of this bill in Committee, notwithstanding any 
provisions that fall within the jurisdiction of the Committee 
on Science, Space, and Technology. This waiver, of course, is 
conditional on our mutual understanding that agreeing to waive 
consideration of this bill should not be construed as waiving, 
reducing, or affecting the jurisdiction of the Committee on 
Science, Space, and Technology.
    Additionally, the Committee on Science, Space, and 
Technology expressly reserves its authority to seek conferees 
on any provision within its jurisdiction during any House-
Senate conference that may be convened on this, or any similar 
legislation. I ask for your commitment to support any request 
by the Committee for conferees on H.R. 527 as well as any 
similar or related legislation.
    I ask that a copy of this letter and your response be 
included in the report on H.R. 527.
            Sincerely,
                                       Lamar Smith,
                                                  Chairman,
                       Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

      

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

H.R. 527: ``The Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act''

    We support H.R. 527 as reported out of Committee because it 
would update our nation's helium policy to ensure a continued 
supply of helium for our high-tech, medical, research and 
defense industries while also maximizing market transparency 
and return to American taxpayers.
    H.R. 527 would address the two impending crises we are 
facing with respect to our nation's supply of helium. If 
Congress fails to act during the next seven months, our 
nation's supply of helium could be disrupted as soon as October 
of this year, when the authority for the Interior Department to 
continue funding and operating our nation's helium reserve is 
set to expire. This could result in nearly half of the United 
States' supply of helium being cut-off, leading to significant 
price spikes and supply disruptions for American businesses, 
consumers and researchers.
    In the longer term, if we do not update our nation's helium 
policy, in a few short years we may find ourselves facing even 
more disruption in domestic helium supplies and even larger 
price spikes when the dwindling stockpile in the Federal Helium 
Reserve is exhausted. H.R. 527 would create price transparency 
and enhanced competition in helium markets, thereby 
incentivizing private investment in new domestic supplies of 
helium. H.R. 527 would increase access to our nation's helium 
reserve to entities beyond the four refining companies 
currently connected to the helium pipeline, as the National 
Academies of Science has recommended. It would also ensure a 
steady helium supply for federal users and researchers for many 
years.
    We must also continue to examine our nation's helium policy 
going forward. It may be in the best long-term interests of 
American industry and our national security to keep this 
important federal helium storage facility functioning, and to 
examine ways to maximize American sourcing of helium in the 
decades ahead.
    We should continue to examine and evaluate the best way to 
use this important asset and whether we should be treating 
helium as a strategic resource so that we are not forced to 
rely on insecure and irregular helium supplies from foreign 
countries and pay dramatically higher prices to meet American 
scientific and industrial needs. Indeed, the attack on the 
Algerian natural gas plant in January 2013 demonstrated the 
potential vulnerability associated with relying on helium 
production from unstable regions. Given the increasingly 
volatile and unpredictable political climate in the Middle East 
and Persian Gulf, which is another large and growing source of 
the world's helium supply, the United States should put a very 
high priority on finding helium sources closer to home and in 
more stable regions.
                                   Edward J. Markey,
                                           Ranking Member, Natural 
                                               Resources Committee.
                                   Rush D. Holt,
                                           Ranking Member, Subcommittee 
                                               on Energy & Mineral 
                                               Resources.