the helium reserve and to develop and implement a plan that would protect this important national resource.

Finally, while noting that the question of how critical helium users in the United States will be assured a stable supply of helium in the future is beyond the scope of its charge, the committee points out that several important issues related to this topic remain unanswered. How will the large amounts of federally owned helium that remain after the mandated sell-off deadline in 2015 be managed after that date? Moreover, from a wider perspective, should a strategic helium reserve be maintained? These questions need to be answered in the near future, well before most federally owned helium is sold.

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