1992 Scorecard Vote
For decades, the two percent of U.S. livestock producers who graze their cattle on public lands in the West have paid ridiculously low fees to American taxpayers ($1.92 per Animal Unit Month). A report issued by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service states that the grazing fee receipts fell $52 million short of meeting the costs for the two agencies' programs. Moreover, overgrazing of land severely impacts the environment by damaging soils, degrading habitat for wildlife, and ruining streams and riparian areas that are crucial for fish populations and biological diversity. Thus, taxpayers in effect are paying a privileged few to ruin close to 270 million acres of taxpayer-owned rangelands.
Senator Jim Jeffords (R-VT) proposed an amendment to raise grazing fees by 25% to $2.40 per acre. As a compromise, Senator Jeffords amended his proposal by limiting the increase in fees to only large ranches with more than 500 head of cattle. The Jeffords amendment would have broadened the use of fee receipts to help cover all costs of the BLM and Forest Service grazing programs and to help restore the tens of millions of acres of rangelands and thousands of miles of streams and riparian areas damaged by decades of overgrazing. Finally, the amendment would have abolished BLM's single-use grazing advisory boards as previously directed by Congress, and turn their activities over to BLM's multiple-use advisory boards.
The vote is on Senator Robert Byrd's (D-WV) motion to table (kill) the Jeffords amendment to raise livestock grazing fees on public lands. The motion to table was agreed to 50-44 on August 6, 1992. NO is the pro-environment vote.