Senate passage Wednesday of the same bill that lifted many restrictions on the National Endowment for the Arts may also help ranchers in Utah.
When the Senate voted 92-7 to approve its version of the far-ranging appropriations bill for the Interior Department and related agencies, it also refused to go along with a House proposal to more than quintuple grazing fees on federal public land.Ranchers in Utah and throughout the West said those fees, passed 251-155 by the House earlier this month, would put them out of business. Fees would rise from the present $1.35 to graze a cow and calf per month to $8.70 by 1994.
Several Western senators - including Jake Garn and Orrin Hatch, both R-Utah - vowed to do all in their power to kill that proposal. They also charged it was a back-door attempt by environmental groups to remove livestock from public lands for fear of overgrazing.
Negotiators between the House and Senate will now try to work out differences in the bill and decide whether to include the grazing fee increase.