Plastic Pipe and Fittings Association v. California Building Standards Commission
124 Cal. App. 4th 1390 (2d Dist. Dec. 15, 2004)

State agencies, in exercising discretion under California Building Standards law to disallow use of cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) pipes, were entitled to rely on expert environmental consultant’s opinion letter advising that PEX may present an unreasonable risk of harm and that information in the administrative record was insufficient to dispel concerns. The consultant’s letter constituted substantial evidence of the agencies’ conclusion.

Statute requiring an agency to review model code standards within one year of the code’s publication is discretionary rather than mandatory and an agency’s failure to adopt the model code within one year after its publication does not render the agency’s subsequent adoption of the code procedurally unfair. Finally, enactment of proposed building standards allowing the use of PEX is a “project” under the California Environmental Quality Act because the regulations at issue may have a reasonably foreseeable indirect environmental impact for the reasons expressed by the environmental consultant.

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