Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis says the passage of a helium bill is a “real win” for Wyoming because it restores part of the Abandoned Mine Lands money owed to the state and lowers royalties for soda ash.
More specifically, the Helium Stewardship Act restores $60 million of money owed to Wyoming and reduces the soda ash royalty rate from 6 to 4 percent for the next two years.
In a release, she says the helium reauthorization bill ensures a steady supply of helium, tapping the federal helium reserve built up during the Cold War, which will phase out by 2021, while opening helium supply to private markets.
Consequently, she said, reauthorizing the bill averts the otherwise impending helium shortage and does so to the benefit of the American taxpayer, with tens of millions of dollars going toward reducing the federal budget deficit.
She said the approval is a “good, hard-won” victory in the continuing fight to get back money owed to the people of Wyoming and means legislators moved one step closer to convincing the federal government to fully fulfill promises made and did so while ensuring a stable and affordable supply of helium.
Also, she said, the royalty rate relief will provide much needed support to a Wyoming industry that is currently engaged in a pitched battle with the Chinese state-owned companies that are heavily subsidized.