Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The Range of Possibilities

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The Range of Possibilities

Article excerpt

Western senators may have won a Pyrrhic victory when their filibuster forced the Senate to delete changes in grazing fees for livestock on public land.

The door is now apparently wide open for Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt to pursue higher grazing fees and other substantive reforms in the management of public lands. Mr. Babbitt should walk right straight - and develop a land-use policy that is more in tune with environmental and fiscal reality.

Two questions are the heart of the debate over grazing fees. One is financial: Should taxpayers subsidize cattle ranchers?

The current grazing fee on public lands is $1.86 a month for a cow and a calf or for five sheep. The Senate bill would have raised that fee over three years to $3.45, considerably less than Mr. Babbitt's plan to raise the rate to $4.28 over three years.

Both the Senate's figures and Mr. Babbitt's, though, are substantially less than current grazing fees for private land. …

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