Possible solution to helium shortage - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Possible solution to helium shortage

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Amarillo, TX - Both sides of Congress are working to protect the helium supply left in the Texas panhandle.

The shortage has been a problem for some time now but it continues to get worse.

In order for the helium plant in Amarillo to continue operating past October, the House and Senate need to act fast.

The House recently passed a bill that would draw down the helium reserve through controlled sales and semi-annual auctions instead of cutting off the federal supply from the marketplace.

The Senate is working to create it's own version of similar legislation.

It aims to protect the supply of existing refineries in the short term and wait until 2015 to sell off 10 percent of the reserve, increasing that percent every year.

What both chambers agree on so far is obtaining market value for this non-renewable resource, because analysts say current prices are not as high as they should be.

Helium is a critical resource for a number of things: airplanes, MRI equipment, medical research and most technology.

Both chambers of Congress are hoping they can soon come to an agreement on legislation that can help keep these items running.

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