1996 Scorecard Vote
The U.S. government charges artificially low fees to ranchers who graze livestock on federal lands. This federal subsidy encourages overgrazing, which causes severe environmental degradation of public lands and costs American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue from below-market fees. Under the guise of reforming grazing management, Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) sponsored S. 1459, the Public Rangelands Management Act of 1995, a bill that would actually roll back existing environmental protections, continues subsidies to the livestock industry, and block public involvement in federal land management.
During consideration of S. 1459, Sens. Dale Bumpers (D-AR) and Jim Jeffords (R-VT) offered an amendment to move grazing fees toward fair market prices. For large ranching operators, who control 60 percent of forage on public rangelands, the amendment would have raised the federal lands grazing fee to the comparable state lands fee. Smaller family ranchers would have been exempt from the fee increase.
On March 21, 1996, the Senate passed Sen. Domenici's motion to table (kill) the Bumpers amendment, 52-47. NO is the pro-environment vote.