Editor's column

"Reduce spray use through licensingMany people are wondering how to persuade otherwise good citizens to stop spraying herbicides and pesticides all over Washington state. One solution may be to require them to first obtain a license, as is demanded of people looking for larger game, such as clams, fish, waterfowl and edible four-legged mammals. The principle is the same -- people out to kill -- so there's no reason those intent on destroying dandelions, thistles, spartina, ants, aphids, flies and beetles shouldn't also be required to purchase a license.The licenses could be issued to the State Department of Weeds and Insectlife which, like the Department of Fish and Wildlife, would set numerous rules and regulations governing the taking of weeds and insects. Unfortunately, the D.W.I. doesn't exist, but it shouldn't be hard to establish one. When's the last time the Legislature turned down the chance to create a bloated bureaucracy?Before heading out into their yards for a hunting expedition, people would have to go to the nearest D.W.I. licensing agent and purchase the necessary permit. The cost could be $5 per species. Let's say you want to kill dandelions, thistles and aphids, then it would be $15. But there should also be a combo-license where the applicant can kill any kind of weed or insect for $50. This would bring in a ton of money to the D.W.I.Once armed with a license, the hunter could proceed to the yard hunting shelves of our hardware stores to arm themselves with cans filled with weed and bug spray. The Department of Weeds and Insectlife would make you sign for every purchase, so they will know who owns the poison in order to protect children.Once properly licensed and armed, the homeowner could proceed to set up camp on his or her lawn and begin the hunt. They'd have to keep their licenses on their persons, because roaming D.W.I. agents could levy big fines for hunting without a license. The agents would also enforce regulations, such as the one requiring that all aphids less than 1,000 microns in length be thrown back. As a measuring stick, the hunter could use the period in Treasurer of the United States. on the front of the one dollar bill. One thousand microns is about one-tenth the width of that period.All the money that goes to the D.W.I. through licenses and fines could be used to hire more rule makers, create more rules, help protect endangered weeds and insects, and propagate certain popular species in hatcheries and greenhouses so there will be plenty to kill next spring.Eventually, all the costs and regulations would cause most people to quit hunting weeds and insects, as many have stopped clamming, fishing and hunting animals. The use of herbicides and pesticides would plummet, and the world would be a better place. All without depriving anyone of their basic human right to kill whatever weeds and insects they want. "

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