PPFA Speaks out on California PEX Ruling

By Consulting Specifying Engineer Staff December 30, 2004

Richard W. Church, executive director of the Plastic Pipe and Fittings Assn., Glen Ellyn, Ill., released the following statement regarding last week’s ruling by the California Second District Court of Appeals, reversing a lower court order placing PEX plastic pipe into the 2001 California Plumbing Code and ordering that all changes to state building codes be subjected to environmental review under the California Environmental Act:

“If anyone continues to wonder why California has a reputation as an anti-jobs, anti-business state, yesterday’s ruling by a California appeals court clearly illustrates why.

“Obviously, it was disappointing to see the lower court ruling ordering PEX into the 2001 California Plumbing Code overturned, but the appeals court had foreshadowed that in an unpublished decision last month and we hadn’t expected any change.

“But the court’s published decision yesterday goes way beyond that, and holds that any change in California fire and building codes qualifies as a “project” under the California Environmental Quality Act, triggering the need for an EIR or other form of environmental review.

“That’s not a defeat for PEX. That’s a defeat for common sense and for anyone interested in making sure California families have the homes, jobs, schools, hospitals and other services they need to maintain their quality of life.

“In the short run, the impact of the court’s decision will be minimal. PEX will still be certified for safety and durability by the national testing laboratories. It will still be part of the Uniform Plumbing Code. It will still be in the Plumbing Codes of 49 other states and Canada. And it will still be available in more than 180 California cities and counties who have tired of the endless politics involved and used their own authority under the law to approve the use of PEX in their jurisdictions.

“But as the month’s drag on, and California policymakers face the reality of preparing EIR’s for every California building code every time it’s updated, it will be more and more apparent that this decision is a disaster affecting every construction project – from sub-divisions to room additions – in California.

“At this time, no decision has been made on whether or not we will file an appeal.”