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The Department of Homeland Security is proposing a system of routine human X-Radiation exposure for those making land crossings at U.S. Borders.

All X-radiation has the potential for harm.   We formerly had a public health concept that humans were not to be exposed to X-radiation unless there was a specific health/medical benefit to the person exposed.    The advent of airport X-ray scanning as the preferred method of conducting searches of airport passengers seems to have reversed the previous policy.   The same airport X-ray equipment paid for by the administration's stimulus program.

Now, DHS wants us all to now feel comfortable as we are X-ray'd in our vehicle driving up to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection station.

The X-radiation is for scanning vehicles and not people, but they are contemplating routine X-ray scanning of vehicles while people are still in their vehicles at border crossings [with the option of allowing the occupants to exit if they wish].  

There is probably some company waiting to sell a lot of equipment out there that is going to make a hell of lot of money, just like on the airport X-ray screening equipment.  

I've seem to recall hearing that past technological screening equipment to detect ionizing radiation at US Borders that has already been installed has not been reliable/dependable.  However, that equipment did not create any radiation exposure as they were detectors and not scanners.   DHS should get strict scrutiny on this latest effort to substitute X-ray scanning technology for humans searching vehicles for contraband.

Announcement details below.   COMMENTS DUE FEBRUARY 17, 2012.

The notice is in today's Federal Register on the programmatic environmental assessment to allow such routine X-radiation exposure.   COMMENTS DUE FEBRUARY 17, 2012

=========

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 11 (Wednesday, January 18, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 2562-2563]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-809]

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Notice of Availability of the Draft Programmatic Environmental
Assessment for the Deployment and Operation of Low Energy X-Ray
Inspection Systems at U.S. Customs and Border Protection Operational
Areas

AGENCY: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland
Security.

ACTION: Notice of Availability and Request for Comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is advising the
public that a draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) for Low
Energy X-Ray Inspection Systems (LEXRIS) at CBP operational areas has
been prepared and is available for public review. The draft PEA
analyzes the potential environmental impacts due to the deployment and
use of LEXRIS. CBP seeks public comment on the draft PEA. CBP will
consider comments before issuing a final PEA.

DATES: The draft PEA will be available for public review and comment
for a period of 30 days beginning on the date this document is
published in the Federal Register. To ensure consideration, comments
must be received by February 17, 2012. Comments regarding the draft PEA
may be submitted as set forth in the ADDRESSES section of this
document.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the draft PEA may be obtained by accessing the
following Internet addresses: http://ecso.swf.usace.army.mil/... or www.dhs.gov/nepa, or by sending a request to David
Duncan of CBP by telephone (202) 344-1527 by fax (202) 344-1418, by
email to david.c.duncan@dhs.gov or by writing to: CBP, Attn: David
Duncan, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Suite 1575, Washington, DC 20229.
    You may submit comments on the draft PEA by mail or email. Comments
are to be addressed to CBP, Attention: David Duncan, 1300 Pennsylvania
Avenue NW., Suite 1575, Washington, DC 20229, or sent to
david.c.duncan@dhs.gov.
    Substantive comments received during the comment period will be
addressed in, and included as an appendix to, the final PEA. The final
PEA will be made available to the public through a Notice of
Availability in the Federal Register.
    Respondents may request to withhold names or street addresses,
except for city or town, from public view or from disclosure under the
Freedom of Information Act. Such request must be stated prominently at
the beginning of the comment and will be honored to the extent allowed
by law. A request to withhold personal information does not apply to
submissions from organizations or businesses, or from individuals
identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations
or businesses.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Antoinette DiVittorio, Environmental
and Energy Division, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, telephone
(202) 344-3131.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    A draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) for the
deployment and operation of Low Energy X-Ray Inspection Systems
(LEXRIS) at CBP operational areas has been completed by the U.S.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Information and
Technology, Laboratories and Scientific Services, Interdiction
Technology Branch. The draft PEA is available for public comment.
    The purpose of deploying and operating LEXRIS is to non-intrusively
scan vehicles for the presence of contraband, including weapons of mass
destruction, explosives, and illicit drugs. Use of LEXRIS at U.S. ports
of entry, for example, directly supports CBP's mission of securing the
U.S. borders and homeland from terrorists and other threats while
simultaneously facilitating legitimate trade and travel by assisting
CBP personnel in preventing contraband, including illegal drugs and
terrorist weapons, from entering the United States.
    Two different LEXRIS models are available. One system is mobile,
mounted on a truck or van type platform and will be used at CBP
operational areas. The system can be driven along side a parked vehicle
and will scan the vehicle as it drives by. The driver and passenger(s)
will exit the vehicle to be scanned and be escorted outside the
controlled area before the vehicle is scanned. The other system is a
stationary, portal configuration that will be installed along an
existing traffic lane. Vehicles will be scanned as they are driven
through the portal. Occupants of the vehicle will have the option of
remaining in the vehicle while the driver drives it through the portal
or exiting the vehicle and having CBP personnel drive it through the
portal. Examples of CBP operational areas include, but are not limited
to, ports of entry, CBP checkpoints, and locations of events designated
as national special security events.
    LEXRIS is needed to fill a unique capability to detect objects that
are not effectively visualized by other non-intrusive inspection
technologies currently used by CBP. LEXRIS gives a clear image of
objects in the vehicle, including objects that may be hidden in
fenders, tires, trunks, gas tanks, and under hoods. LEXRIS provides CBP
personnel with information about what may be encountered during a
manual search and, in some cases, will

[[Page 2563]]

eliminate the need for CBP personnel to manually enter vehicles to
search for contraband. As a result, LEXRIS will increase the safety of
CBP personnel.
    The draft PEA addresses the potential impacts from the installation
and operation of LEXRIS at various CBP operational areas throughout the
United States for the purpose of conducting non-intrusive inspections.
Evaluations were conducted on various resources present at operational
areas, including: climate, soils, water quality, air quality,
vegetation, wildlife, noise, infrastructure, aesthetics, and
radiological health and safety.

Next Steps

    This process is being conducted pursuant to the National
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the
Council on Environmental Quality Regulations for Implementing the NEPA
(40 CFR parts 1500-1508), and Department of Homeland Security Directive
023-01, Environmental Planning Program, (April 19, 2006).
    Substantive comments concerning environmental impacts received from
the public and agencies during the comment period will be evaluated to
determine whether further environmental impact review is needed in
order to complete the Final PEA. The Final PEA will be made available
to the public through a Notice of Availability in the Federal Register.
    Should CBP determine, after review of the comments, that the
implementation of the proposed action would not have a significant
impact on the environment, it will prepare a Finding of No Significant
Impact (FONSI), and a Notice of Availability of the FONSI for
publication in the Federal Register.
    Should CBP determine that significant environmental impacts exist
due to the action, CBP will prepare a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare
an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for publication in the Federal
Register.

    Dated: January 12, 2012.
Karl H. Calvo,
Executive Director, Facilities Management and Engineering, Office of
Administration.
[FR Doc. 2012-809 Filed 1-17-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 9111-14-P

1:59 PM PT: I should have specifically said 'human' X-ray exposure in the title, but I can't seem to get to a place where I can edit the title of the diary.

Poll

Aside from medical/dental X-rays, the following X-Ray exposure are OK with me

0%0 votes
18%3 votes
81%13 votes

| 16 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  You do know it is already (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sebastianguy99

    in use in most ports of entry for inspecting containers.

    http://www.customs.gov.au/...

    Republicans 2012 . . . Keeping millions out of work to put one man out of a job.

    by jsfox on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 12:38:28 PM PST

    •  that screening does not contemplate human exposure (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt

      it is only for cargo

      •  Actually it does (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FG, sebastianguy99

        since the driver of the truck pulling the container must drive into the x-ray facility, but as in the border deployment he or she can get out if he or she so chooses.

        From your diary -

        The driver and passenger(s) will exit the vehicle to be scanned and be escorted outside the controlled area before the vehicle is scanned.

        The other system is a stationary, portal configuration that will be installed along an existing traffic lane. Vehicles will be scanned as they are driven through the portal. Occupants of the vehicle will have the option of remaining in the vehicle while the driver drives it through the portal or exiting the vehicle and having CBP personnel drive it through the portal.


        [emphasis added]

        Republicans 2012 . . . Keeping millions out of work to put one man out of a job.

        by jsfox on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 01:11:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Kudos for posting this timely, (6+ / 0-)

    i.e., in plenty of time for comments on this proposed "programmatic environmental assessment" to reach the federal agency that has proposed it. So often, people get the word out too late to make a difference. Thank you!

    Items put forth for comment deserve very careful reading and response. When a federal agency gets a comment on a proposed item that shows the commenter did not understand the proposal, then it's easy to dismiss the comment.

    Before even going to the actual PEA at the link, these bits really popped out in reading the federal register  notice:

    Occupants of the vehicle will have the option of remaining in the vehicle while the driver drives it through the portal or exiting the vehicle and having CBP personnel drive it through the portal.

    NO. Persons should not have the "option" of subjecting themsevles, and their children if any, to an exposure that may endanger their health according to some authorities, even if the government at present deems the hazard from this type of Xrays negligible.

    And NO, CBP personnel should not have to expose themselves over and over to Xrays, even normally "harmless" ones, while repeatedly taking vehicles through the portal for drivers who decline to be exposed this way.

    Are they crazy?  Even the local car wash has automated  tracks that can guide an unoccupied vehicle through the cycle! And this hi-tech Xray system will require SOMEBODY to be IN THE CAR?  

    Moreover, the "option" to stay in one's vehicle can easily become pressure to stay in one's vehicle, if those administering the program so decide.

    Another stand-out:

    Examples of CBP operational areas include, but are not limited to, ports of entry, CBP checkpoints, and locations of events designated as national special security events.

    Mission creep again...and "not limited to" this list, i.e., anywhere, anytime. Approval of this proposal apparently could mean, for example, authorization to Xray all vehicles at entrances to Interstate highways. (How convenient for enforcing HOV lanes, too!)  Or on every corner of every street, for that matter.  Well, I suppose the cost factor kicks in somewhere, but civil liberties never seem to any more.

    Happy commenting. A note to the resident Congress critters would probably be good too.

    •  that's correct (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt, Clio2
      Moreover, the "option" to stay in one's vehicle can easily become pressure to stay in one's vehicle, if those administering the program so decide.

      There's already pressure at the airport, with the 'why are you opting out' questions. (The only good answer is "Because I have a right to").

  •  X-ray for cars seems like a rational response (0+ / 0-)

    Given the threat from traffickers and terrorists, I say it is appropriate. It is not as if they hold you hostage in the vehicle.

    "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

    by sebastianguy99 on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 01:48:17 PM PST

  •  What's to worry? It's only enough radiation to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Agathena, kurt

    penetrate a steel auto body?

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