WASHINGTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — The Senate has approved a bill to avert an impending shutdown of the federal helium reserve in Texas, a key supplier of the lighter-than-air gas used in a wide range of products, from party balloons to MRI machines.
The Federal Helium Program, which provides about 42 percent of the nation’s helium from a storage site just outside Amarillo, is to shut down October 7 as a result of a 1996 law requiring the reserve to pay off a debt by selling its helium.
The debt is paid, but billions of cubic feet of helium remain. Closing the reserve would cause a worldwide helium shortage — an outcome lawmakers from both parties hope to avoid.
The bill the Senate passed Thursday differs slightly from a House-approved bill. President Barack Obama favors the Senate version.
The reserve, established in 1925, holds more than 1 billion cubic meters of helium gas and was initially set up to supply gas for airships.
(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
- Jones Confident In Kiffin’s Ability To ‘Fix’ Defense
- Briles Named AP Big 12 Coach Of The Year
- Students Head Back To Class After Ice Days
- College Football Spotlight: It May Be Hard To Admit, But The BCS Got It Right
- Garrett: Cowboys Need To Address Issues ‘Quickly’
- Greyhound Passengers Complain Sick Rider Allowed To Stay On Bus
- Carroll ISD Opting Out Of Federal Lunch Program
- TCU College Freshman Is Just 11 Years Old
- Guyer High School Football Player Remembered
- City Of Fort Worth Demolished Wrong Home For A Second Time