The U.S. helium reserve in Amarillo, Tex., controlled by the Bureau of Land Management, accounts for 30 percent of the world’s helium. But a current Senate Bill calls for the reserve to continue selling helium, even if it risks running out by 2018. Helium is a common inert gas, but for commercial purposes it’s usually generated as a byproduct from natural gas mining. But because the recession has caused a slowdown in natural-gas production, helium markets are facing a shortage; more plants will coming online by the end of 2012 in Qatar, Russia and Wyoming, but not in time to ease the current crisis.
(VIDEO: Earth Is Running Out of Helium)
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