Monday, February 18, 2013

SIA representative testifies in support of legislation to secure helium supply

USA: The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), representing US leadership in semiconductor manufacturing and design, testified before the House Natural Resources Committee in support of legislation to secure the supply of helium, a critical gas used in the semiconductor manufacturing process as well as other types of advanced manufacturing  and scientific research.

During a hearing titled, “The Past, Present and Future of the Federal Helium Program,” Rodney Morgan – VP of procurement at SIA member Micron Technology – explained helium’s essential applications for semiconductor manufacturing, outlined the dangers of a helium shortage, and urged Congress to promptly approve legislation to secure the supply of helium.

“Helium is used to achieve ultra-clean manufacturing and assembly environments that are essential for advanced semiconductor manufacturing,” Morgan said. “Although the semiconductor industry consumes only a small amount of the overall quantity of helium used today, it remains a critical, irreplaceable input into our manufacturing process.”

Under existing law, sales of helium to private entities from the Federal Helium Reserve will cease in late 2013, and legislation is needed urgently to continue to allow the supply from the Reserve to be sold for industrial and research purposes. By allowing the Reserve to continue to operate, Congress can alleviate the supply shortages and inject approximately $350 million annually to the federal treasury, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates.

The House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) and Ranking Member Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced H.R. 527, the Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act, to address the helium shortage.

Morgan, testifying on behalf of Micron and SIA, noted that the industry is already facing supply shortages and urged swift congressional action to help secure the supply of helium.

“It is important and urgently needed that the House act on legislation to address the helium supply,” Morgan said. “We applaud Chairman Hastings and Ranking Member Markey for their work on this bill, and we urge the full House to consider the legislation soon.”

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