In 1962, Congress established The Bush Dome Helium Reserves 3,000 feet under a depleted gas field outside Amarillo, Texas. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management oversees the Federal Helium Reserves, which stores 42% of the U.S supply (and 30% of the world's supply).
Under the Helium Privatization Act of 1996, the reserves were sold off, artificially depressing worldwide prices. But as the draw-down neared, prices spiked. Last year, the government charged $75.75 per thousand cubic feet of helium, an all-time high; the private sector charged $160.
Though demand for helium will rise between 7% and 10% next year, the Helium Stewardship Act of 2013 will slow the sell-off and transition helium pricing to private rates. In addition, by 2018, new mining operations should produce helium surpluses.