September 27, 2013

Helium Cliff Averted After Senate Passes Legislation to Halt Supply Crisis

Bill Moves to White House for President’s Signature

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Physical Society applauds yesterday’s vote by the U.S. Senate to approve the Helium Stewardship Act, which, along with a recent unanimous vote in the House of Representatives, ensures that scientists have access to a steady supply of this crucial gas for research projects. The bill will now be sent to President Obama for his signature.

In addition to being used for scientific research at national laboratories, helium is necessary for the fabrication of semi-conductors, optical fibers, and in the operation of MRI machines.

For more than a year, APS has played an integral role in advocating for the legislation and has partnered with other scientific societies and high-tech companies to push the bill through Congress. Supporters of the legislation worked to avert the mandated Oct. 1 shutdown of the helium reserve in Amarillo, Texas, operated by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

“I am both elated and relieved that Congress has gotten this done,” said Michael Turner, president of the APS. “Helium illustrates one of the many connections between research, the economy and advanced healthcare in this country. I am proud that the APS played a leading role in getting this done and thank our Public Affairs Office and APS members for their tireless efforts.”

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The American Physical Society is a nonprofit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy, and international activities. APS represents over 55,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories, and industry in the United States and throughout the world. Society offices are located in College Park, Maryland (Headquarters), Ridge, New York, and Washington, D.C.