May 11, 2011

PLF Appeals CalEPA’s decision that worm poop is a “pesticide”

By PLF Appeals CalEPA’s decision that worm poop is a “pesticide”

Author: Timothy Sandefur

PLF attorneys this week filed the appeal in the case of George Hahn, the southern California entrepreneur who sells a fertilizer called Worm Gold, made of the feces or “castings” of worms—which state bureaucrats have deemed a “pesticide” in defiance of all common sense. CalEPA officials have fined Hahn $100,000 for truthfully advertising the fact that plants fed worm castings can become strong and thus resist infestation by pests. I appeared briefly on the CFact SoCal podcast today to explain the case. You can listen here.

As we’ve blogged before, bureaucrats at CalEPA—which uses worm castings in the very same building where they held a hearing to fine Hahn—argue that any product, no matter what its nature, is automatically a “pesticide” if anyone makes a “pesticidal claim” about that product. In other words, if I tell you that you can use water to spray aphids off your plants, that makes water a pesticide subject to the state’s expensive and complicated testing and registration requirements. (And you will see in the brief that state pesticide regulators admitted this under oath in this case!) If the state has its way, any fertilizer in the state could be classified as a pesticide, with dramatic consequences for California’s agriculture industry.

You can learn more about the case and about PLF’s fight for entrepreneurs by clicking here.

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