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Jan 30, 2007 - 05:00 PM

Clear the Pipes

by Carmen Balber
Builders, construction companies and developers poured a whopping $15.9 million into the governor's campaign chests over the last 3 1/2 years. The California Building Industry Association (CBIA) is responsible for $282,900 of that. The industry collected on a piece of its investment yesterday: The Administration overturned a ban on the use of plastic drinking water pipes that builders have fought in California for 25 years. Health and safety concerns -- including the release of toxic chemicals into the air and drinking water -- have prevented the pipes from winning approval since 1982.

The Department of Housing and Community Development drafted the regulation. It produced a perfunctory nine-page draft environmental impact report to justify the abrupt rule change but failed to address the serious health and safety issues raised by environmental, worker and consumer advocates. Lynn Jacobs, Schwarzenegger's Housing Dept. head, might claim credit for the slack review -- she left positions with the CBIA when she took her job with Arnold.

Arnold shouldn't be cutting corners and exposing families to unknown risks just to please his biggest industry donor. Californians deserve a ban on plastic piping unless a comprehensive report dispels concerns about risks to the environment, public safety and workers' health.

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