Congress Solves a Major Problem
Posted at 11:15 a.m. on Sept. 27
Congress has solved a major problem that was set to damage major industries in early October. Not a government shutdown or the debt ceiling, but the all-important Federal Helium Reserve.
Brad Plumer explains: “Thanks to an obscure 1996 law, the Federal Helium Reserve is scheduled to shut its doors on Oct. 7, locking 10 billion cubic feet of helium underground and immediately shutting off 35 percent of the world’s helium supply… a shortage would cause chaos in large swaths of the economy dependent on helium, from medical scanners to welders to manufacturers of optical fibers and LCD screens.”
“On top of that, the bill would slowly phase out the Helium Reserve’s long-standing practice of giving away the gas for below-market rates, a practice that has led to excessive waste and has prevented the private sector from developing its own sources of the scarce resource.”