The fate of recent guidelines recommending that the state?s laws improve their coverage of environmental justice concerns will depend on the governor-elect. Arnold Schwarzenegger could insist other agencies apply the environmental justice guidelines?or not. And they could affect the power plant siting process. Earlier this month, a California Environmental Protection Agency advisory panel voted to push for a curb on permits and practices that result in disproportionate levels of air, water, soil, and\/or noise pollution hitting low-income communities and communities of color?be it from a power project, dump, sewage plant, or big factory. A similar effort has been under way at the state Resources Agency spearheaded by the California Air Resources Board. Environmental racism has been a rallying cry for closing Pacific Gas & Electric?s old Hunters Point power plant. Its air pollution affects a predominantly poor, minority community already hit by loads of car fumes from a nearby freeway and emissions from heavy industries. The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) is the agency that will determine the time of closure. Under CAISO, the plant closure will be based on an assessment of whether the plant is needed to ensure power reliability, not on considerations of environmental justice. Cal-EPA has no jurisdiction over the grid operator, and whether a new governor could force CAISO to give higher priority to environmental justice issues remains to be seen. ?We support the concept of environmental justice but have to keep the lights on,? said CAISO spokesperson Gregg Fishman. ?Given the system we?ve inherited, it?s a challenge to get those two goals to match up,? he added. The California Energy Commission is also exempt from Cal-EPA jurisdiction, although it does give some attention to environmental justice impacts during its permitting process. ?The energy commission still seems pretty locked into a very traditional risk assessment in planning approach? when determining whether there are disparate race impacts, said Alan Ramo, professor of environmental law at Golden Gate University School of Law. He expected the Cal-EPA guidelines to rub off on the CEC and improve its environmental justice test but lamented that Schwarzenegger has not ?indicated any support for environmental justice.?