S. 783, Helium Stewardship Act of 2013

Cost Estimate
July 17, 2013

As ordered reported by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on June 18, 2013

S. 783 would reauthorize, establish, or modify several programs related to the management of federal lands and natural resources and would increase certain payments to localities. Major provisions of the legislation would:

  • Authorize the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to retain proceeds from the sale of helium from the Federal Helium Reserve to pay for the costs of operating the reserve;
  • Require BLM to sell federally owned assets, including rights to any remaining gases, at the Federal Helium Reserve by 2023;
  • Provide funds to certain counties by reauthorizing Secure Rural Schools payments through 2014;
  • Raise the cap on payments to states under the Abandoned Mine Lands program for 2014;
  • Appropriate funds to remediate, reclaim, and close abandoned oil and gas wells in Alaska;
  • Provide funds to the National Park Service (NPS) to improve infrastructure at parks; and
  • Reduce the royalty rate on soda ash and related mineral products from 6 percent to 4 percent for two years following the enactment of the bill.

CBO estimates that enacting S. 783 would reduce net direct spending by $51 million over the 2014-2023 period; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. Enacting S. 783 would not affect revenues.

The bill also would authorize appropriations to conduct assessments of helium supplies, establish research and development programs related to helium, and administer the Secure Rural Schools program. In addition, S. 783 would require BLM to comply with certain reporting requirements. Assuming appropriation of the authorized and necessary amounts, CBO estimates that conducting those activities would cost $6 million over the 2014-2018 period. Finally, the bill would reduce the amount authorized to be appropriated for an existing Department of Energy grant program by $5 million. On net, CBO estimates that implementing those provisions would cost $1 million over the 2014-2018 period.

S. 783 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.