Helium Extraction Act of 2017 by Rep. Paul Cook unanimously passes the House

By on November 8, 2017

Rep. Paul Cook (R-8th District-Apple Valley) has announced that the Helium Extraction Act of 2017, H.R. 3279, unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill, authored by Rep. Cook, amends the Mineral Leasing Act and allows helium extraction from gas on federal lands under the same terms as gas and oil.

Rep. Cook said, “Helium has become irreplaceable in our space, defense, and medical industries. Without this bill, we could become dangerously dependent on unstable foreign countries for our supply of helium. This bill encourages the development of American sources of helium and will boost both our national security and economy. I’m grateful to the House for passing this bill and look forward to it becoming law.”

A continual supply of helium is critically needed for medical, defense and energy industries. Helium is used in medical MRIs, semiconductors and air-to-missile guidance systems. The Federal Helium Reserve has historically satisfied much of the American demand for helium. But, according to the Bureau of Land Management, the reserve has only enough helium to meet about 40 percent of the domestic demand for the gas.

Additionally, there are major concerns about the future of our domestic helium production. The Helium Stewardship Act of 2013 requires that by September 30, 2021, the reserve must be sold and the facility closed. Internationally the next largest producers are Algeria, Qatar and Russia. With the considerable political, economic, and diplomatic uncertainty surrounding many of the largest foreign suppliers of helium, it could become dangerous for America to become dependent on them.

“With this bill, we seek responsible development of another critical natural resource that will provide increased American security, economic stability and domestic job creation,” said Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee. “I thank Rep. Cook for his leadership on this important measure and look forward to working with the Senate to get it to the president’s desk.”

Rep. Cook is Yucaipa’s U.S. Congressman and he maintains a field office in Yucaipa. He is currently a member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees. Rep. Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

Rep. Cook’s Yucaipa office is at 34282 Yucaipa Boulevard. The Yucaipa office phone number is 909-797-4900; please call prior to visiting the office in order to confirm hours of availability.