AN ACT

To amend the Helium Act to authorize the Secretary to enter into agreements with private parties for the recovery and disposal of helium on Federal lands, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE

This Act may be cited as the 'Helium Privatization Act of 1996'.

SEC. 2. AMENDMENT OF HELIUM ACT

Except as otherwise expressly provided, whenever in this Act an amendment or repeal is expressed in terms of an amendment to, or repeal of, a section or other provision, the reference shall be considered to be made to a section or other provision of the Helium Act (50 U.S.C. 167 to 167n).

SEC. 3. AUTHORITY OF SECRETARY

Sections 3, 4, and 5 are amended to read as follows:

'SEC. 3. AUTHORITY OF SECRETARY

'(a) EXTRACTION AND DISPOSAL OF HELIUM ON FEDERAL LANDS-

'(1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary may enter into agreements with private parties for the recovery and disposal of helium on Federal lands upon such terms and conditions as the Secretary deems fair, reasonable, and necessary.

'(2) LEASEHOLD RIGHTS- The Secretary may grant leasehold rights to any such helium.

'(3) LIMITATION- The Secretary may not enter into any agreement by which the Secretary sells such helium other than to a private party with whom the Secretary has an agreement for recovery and disposal of helium.

'(4) REGULATIONS- Agreements under paragraph (1) may be subject to such regulations as may be prescribed by the Secretary.

'(5) EXISTING RIGHTS- An agreement under paragraph (1) shall be subject to any rights of any affected Federal oil and gas lessee that may be in existence prior to the date of the agreement.



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