Rep. Paul Cook announces introduction of the Helium Extraction Act of 2017

By on July 22, 2017
Rep. Paul Cook

New legislation has been introduced to House of Representatives to amend the Mineral Leasing Act to allow helium extraction from gas on federal lands under the same terms as gas and oil. Rep. Paul Cook (R-8th District-Apple Valley) introduced H.R. 3279, the Helium Extraction Act of 2017, because according to the Bureau of Land Management, the Federal Helium Reserve is estimated to have enough helium to meet approximately 40 percent of the domestic demand for the gas.

Helium is a critical element using in medical Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRIs), semiconductors and air-to-missile guidance systems. Much of the American demand for helium has been satisfied by the Federal Helium Reserve. However, the Helium Stewardship Act of 2013 requires that by September 30, 2021, the reserve must be sold and the facility closed. Although the United States is currently the world’s largest supplier of helium, the next largest producers are Algeria, Qatar and Russia. Rep. Cook acknowledges that dependence of many of the largest foreign suppliers of helium would be dangerous given current diplomatic, economic and political uncertainties.

Rep. Cook said, “The looming helium crisis must be dealt with now, or it could have deadly consequences. 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.”

The Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah’s 1st District-Ogden) praised Rep. Cook’s H.R. 3279 saying, “Facilitating a robust domestic helium market will spur job creation, promote massive revenues to the Treasury and provide stability for essential industries from medical technology to our defense sector. With the recent developments in Qatar, it’s important now more than ever to ensure a guaranteed source of this critical element. I thank Rep. Cook for his leadership on this issue and look forward to moving this bill through the House.”

Rep. Cook is Yucaipa’s U.S. Congressman. He is a member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, 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 maintains a field office in Yucaipa at 34282 Yucaipa Blvd. The office is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The office can be reached at 909-797-4900.