The PJ Tatler

1996 Called and Wants its Helium Back

Remember back when Newt Gingrich and the GOP Congress killed off the helium reserve almost 20 years ago? Well, sort-of killed it off:

Nearly 20 years ago, Congress passed a law to shut down the Federal Helium Reserve in Amarillo, Texas, by 2015. With that deadline fast approaching, industries that rely on helium are lobbying Capitol Hill to keep the reserve going.

Naturally, the helium lobby — and yes, we’re so deep into the terminal phase of decadence that we have a helium lobby — thinks the 17-year-old law is an emergency:

“It would be as if one-third the world’s supply of oil was instantly pulled off the market — chaos would ensue, and the price, in this instance specifically for helium, would skyrocket,” said Walter Nelson, director of helium sourcing at Air Products said in his prepared testimony.

Instantly. Since 1996. When this law was passed, Windows 95 was still a novelty, Independence Day was the top-grossing movie, and everybody up to and including Al Gore was doing the Macarena.