Senator Schumer to Push Plan to Keep Helium Reserve Open

September 10, 2012 Updated Sep 10, 2012 at 10:30 AM EDT

By WKBW News


Senator Schumer to Push Plan to Keep Helium Reserve Open

September 10, 2012 Updated Sep 10, 2012 at 10:30 AM EDT

TONAWANDA, NY (WKBW/Release) - On Monday at 11 A.M., standing at Praxair Inc. in Tonawanda, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer will announce his plan to push critical legislation to prevent the Federal Helium Reserve in Amarillo, Texas from pending closure when Congress returns to Washington after Labor Day.

The Helium Stewardship Act of 2012 aims to re-authorize the operation of the federal helium reserve, promote the responsible management of these federal helium assets, and to stimulate future development of private sources of helium.

Schumer will explain how this legislation will help secure and preserve reliable helium supplies for important commercial users across upstate New York, and prevent disruptions for suppliers like Praxair. The Federal Helium Reserve currently provides approximately half of all domestic helium needs.

The Helium Stewardship Act, authored by Senator Bingaman (D- New Mexico) and Senator John Barasso (R-Wyoming), that Schumer will push to bring to the Senate floor would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to continue selling the federal helium reserve at market prices and promote new strategies to produce and preserve domestic helium sources.

Schumer has been discussing the need for the legislation with major New York businesses like Praxair, GlobalFoundries, IBM, and Corning, Inc. who consider reliable and inexpensive helium a critical aspect of their business, and urged the Senator to prioritize passage of the reforms.

Helium is also a vital component in medical procedures like MRIs, and is important to the work being done at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Schumer will be joined by Praxair Senior Vice President and Technology Officer Ray Roberge, Praxair Global Helium Director Jane Hoffman, and Dr. Ronald Alberico Director of Neuroradiology/Head and Neck Imaging and Director of Clinical MRI at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

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