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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT NEWS RELEASE
New Mexico State Office - Amarillo Field Office
 
Release Date: 07/22/14
Contacts: Robert B. Jolley, 806-356-1002    

BLM Announces Helium Auction (7/22/14)


Amarillo, TX–The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Amarillo Field Office has announced a July 30, 2014, helium auction at the Federal Helium Reserve near Amarillo.  The auction is part of an implementation plan developed in response to the Helium Stewardship Act of 2013 (HSA), which mandated the transition to a privatized system.

Passed by Congress in October 2013, the HSA established an auction system for the sale of the federal helium and mandated that all property, equipment and interest held by the United States in the Federal Helium Reserve be disposed of by September 30, 2021.  In response, the BLM’s FY2014 implementation plan provides for an orderly transition to a privatized system through a series of auctions and sales to ensure minimal market disruption.  The plan also includes measures to ensure that Federal users of helium can continue to have a supply of the gas; and the disposal of government assets in the system no later than September 30, 2021. 
 
This approach gives the BLM a way to ensure the agency properly and efficiently fulfills the Congressional mandate.
 
The FY 2014 plan is announced in the Federal Register, July 23, 2014, under the title “Implementation of Helium Stewardship Act Sales and Auctions.”  http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-07-23/pdf/2014-17376.pdf. The Federal Register notice also announces the July 30 helium auction that will be held at the BLM Amarillo Field Office, 801 South Fillmore Street, Suite 500.
 
This notice followed a public comment period on the BLM’s draft implementation plan, also published in the Federal Register, which extended from May 16, 2014, to June 16, 2014. 
 
Helium is used in the testing of rocket engines, welding, commercial diving and semiconductor chips.  The element’s ability to reach very low temperatures attracts many users who conduct magnetic resonance imaging and other scientific applications.  Other industries depend on helium’s lifting powers for operating weather and party balloons.
 
The Federal Helium Program 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 that supplies more than 40 percent of domestic demand for helium. 

Additional documents relating to the implementation plan, including the results of a Public Scoping Meeting, comments received from the original Federal Register Notice, and the Auction Notice can be found on the AMFO’s website at:  http://www.blm.gov/nm/hsaimplementation.

You may request a copy of the Federal Register Notice, the Auction Notice, and associated documents by any of the following methods:  Email: rbjolley@blm.gov or sburton@blm.gov; Fax: 806-356-1041; Mail: BLM Amarillo Field Office, Attention:  Robert B. Jolley, Field Manager, 801 South Fillmore Street, Amarillo, Texas 79101.



The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2013, the BLM generated $4.7 billion in receipts from public lands.
--BLM--

Last updated: 07-25-2014