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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT NEWS RELEASE
Amarillo Field Office
 
Release Date: 02/18/14
Contacts: Paul McGuire    
  405-790-1009    
  pmcguire@blm.gov    

BLM Amarillo Field Office Seeks Public Input on Helium Stewardship Act


The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Amarillo Field Office (AMFO) is seeking public comments to identify issues and concerns that should be analyzed in connection with implementation of the Helium Stewardship Act of 2013 (HSA). The HSA was signed into law on October 2, 2013. The law establishes an auction system for the sale of federally owned helium stored in the Federal Helium Reserve, and mandates that all property, equipment and interest held by the United States in the Reserve be disposed of by September 30, 2021.

The scoping period for the Amarillo Field Office will begin March 6, 2014, with a public meeting at the Amarillo Public Library (413 SE 4th Ave) from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The meeting will begin with a welcome and presentation by BLM staff, followed by an opportunity for questions, comments and information gathering. This meeting will be streamed via the web to remote stakeholders wishing to participate.  Full details are available on the web at http://www.blm.gov/nm/txpublicmeeting.

The official public comment period will remain open through March 21, 2014. 

The purpose of the meeting and comment period is to solicit input on a range of issues potentially impacting industry and the public, including but not limited to:

1. How to promote helium tolling - Purchasers of helium without refining plants are finding it difficult to process their crude helium during times of extreme shortage. The BLM welcomes suggestions on how to incentivize the refiners to make more tolling capacity available to non-refiners;

2. Pricing transparency - Pricing methodology, pricing information, and potential plant outages are not well defined and understood by the public. Also, the impacts of new legislation need to be more openly communicated to the public. The BLM seeks public comments on various ways to improve understanding and communication of these pricing mechanisms; and

3. Format for helium auctions - What format for these auctions will allow for the most return to the American public? The BLM is seeking input on the best format and execution of these helium auctions.

How Do I Comment? 

You may submit comments on issues and planning criteria in writing to the BLM at the March 6 public meeting, or any time through March 21 by mail or e-mail. To be most helpful, submit comments using the official comment form. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, please be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, are available for public inspection in their entirety. The comments and list of attendees for each scoping meeting will be available to the public for 30 days after the scoping period to clarify the views expressed.

Comments may be mailed or hand carried to 801 S. Fillmore, Suite 500, Amarillo TX, 79101, or emailed to BLM_NM_AMFO_SPO@blm.gov. You may also request to be added to the participant mailing list to receive future updates.



The Federal Helium Program, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Amarillo Field Office, is responsible for the conservation and sale of Federally owned helium. The BLM operates and maintains a helium storage reservoir, enrichment plant, and pipeline system near Amarillo, Texas, that supplies over 40 percent of domestic demand for helium. The program operates under the authority of the Helium Stewardship Act of 2013
--BLM--

Last updated: 02-20-2014