Though Senator Ben Nelson may not have it in mind to save western public lands from excessive livestock grazing, the bill he recently introduced could "hit them where it hurts" with its focus on setting realistic fees for grazing on public lands. In mid July, the Nebraska Senator introduced a taxpayer fairness bill to end the substantial federal subsidies that an elite number of livestock producers receive. If the bill makes its way through to become law, it's estimated to save American taxpayers $1.2 billion (and, perhaps, discourage the use of some of the most sensitive public land in the arid west). His bill requires that the Secretary of the Interior work in conjunction with the Secretary of Agriculture to set livestock grazing fees on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and National Forest System public rangelands at rates comparable to those found on nearby private grazing lands.
Boise NF photo by George Wuerthner Cow-bombed riparian area in Boise National Forest, Idaho.