Crapo notes Micron, ON Semiconductor also benefit under Helium Stewardship Act
Washington, D.C. - Federal legislation that will send $270 million to rural counties to help offset tax-free federal land within their borders is on its way to the President's desk for signature. The U.S. Senate today passed the county payments language as part of H.R. 527, the Helium Stewardship Act, which was approved in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday.
The legislation calls for payments through the Secure Rural Schools program through Fiscal Year 2014. It also benefits industry leaders, including semiconductor manufacturers, such as Micron in Boise and ON Semiconductor in Pocatello, by authorizing sales from the Federal Helium Reserve, which will continue operation without change through the end of Fiscal Year 2014. A portion of the revenue raised from the continued sale of helium is also designated to pay down the federal debt.
"Passage of the Helium Stewardship Act is a victory for the entire state of Idaho," Crapo said. "Idaho's rural communities, with limited revenue due to the large amounts of neighboring federal land, will be able to continue providing for schools, road maintenance, law enforcement, emergency response and other various needs. Additionally, this legislation provides for responsible management of the national reserve while averting a potential shortage. This fix does not change the need for a long-term solution that provides a consistent mechanism for the federal government to meet its obligation to rural communities accommodating federal lands and I will continue to work with Senator Risch and all my colleagues to achieve this objective."
"This will help secure the basic services for counties for another year to see if we can come together with the collaboratives to make a substantial economic fix for rural Idaho," said Idaho County Commissioner Skip Brandt. Brandt is a member of the Clearwater Basin Collaborative, one of many public land collaborative efforts in Idaho seeking to balance preservation, recreation, habitat and economic activities. Crapo established the CBC in 2008 in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the CBC work group.