Utah's two senators and 10 of their Western colleagues worry that President Bush may have given cattlemen a bum steer when he promised he wouldn't raise grazing fees.
Sens. Jake Garn and Orrin Hatch, both R-Utah, were among those who wrote Bush, saying they are dismayed that administration officials told a House subcommittee that they will not oppose a House bill that would dramatically raise the fees.They reminded Bush that during the campaign, he promised to continue current grazing-fee formulas - which charge higher fees in years when beef prices are high, and lower fees during depressed years.
The letter said, "We are sure that your statements were the basis for the strong support you received from many in the western livestock industry."
It also encouraged Bush to contact his secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior to clarify his position.
In a separate statement, Garn said, "Utah farmers and ranchers are among the most hard working industrious people in the state. And they are willing to pay their fair share for the privilege of using public lands. We have a formula now that I believe is equitable and I don't see a reason to change it."