Wednesday - December 19, 2018
Federal Independent Agencies

News releases, reports, statements and associated documents from federal independent agencies.

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Silver Spring, Maryland, Natural Gas Explosion Subject of NTSB Meeting
WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 -- The National Transportation Safety Board issued the following news release:

The National Transportation Safety Board announced Tuesday its intention to hold a board meeting, March 12, 2019, 9:30 a.m. (EST), to determine the probable cause of the Aug. 10, 2016, natural gas explosion and fire in Silver Spring, Maryland.

The accident killed seven people, 65 civilians were transported to area hospitals and three firefighters suffered minor injuries.

Parties to the investigation include the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the Maryland Public Service ... Show Full Article

Signing of Memorandum of Understanding Between USAID and the Government of Hungary
WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 -- The U.S. Agency for International Development issued the following news release:

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), represented by Acting Deputy Administrator David Moore, and the Secretariat for the Aid of Persecuted Christians of the Government of Hungary, represented by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Levente Magyar, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Tuesday, December 18, 2018. The objective of the MOU is to increase coordination to help communities in the Middle East recover from genocide and persecution by the Islamic ... Show Full Article

NASA Begins America's New Moon to Mars Exploration Approach in 2018
WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 -- NASA issued the following news release:

NASA welcomed a new administrator, Jim Bridenstine, deputy administrator, Jim Morhard, and chief financial officer, Jeff DeWit, in 2018. Their focus is on firmly establishing the groundwork to send Americans back to the Moon sustainably, with plans to use the agency's lunar experience to prepare to send astronauts to Mars.

"Our agency's accomplishments in 2018 are breathtaking. We've inspired the world and created incredible new capabilities for our nation," Bridenstine said. "This year, we landed on Mars for the seventh time, and ... Show Full Article

NASA Administrator Bridenstine Issues Statement on Death of Ramon
WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 -- NASA issued the following statement by Administrator Jim Bridenstine on the death of Rona Ramon:

"NASA is deeply saddened by the passing of Rona Ramon, and we send our heartfelt condolences to her family and the people of Israel.

"Rona's courage and inspiration in the face of tragedy have helped inspire a new generation to build on the legacy of her husband, space shuttle astronaut Ilan Ramon.

Throughout her life, she remained a friend of those who would pioneer space, encouraging worldwide dialogue through the Ilan Ramon Symposium, and a deeper awareness of the challenges ... Show Full Article

Maine Facilities Improve Hazardous Waste Management and Protect Health and Safety
BOSTON, Massachusetts, Dec. 18 -- The Environmental Protection Agency issued the following news release:

A Hartland, Maine, tannery has agreed to come into compliance with state and federal hazardous waste laws and to pay a penalty of $48,000 to settle claims by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that it violated these laws at its facility in Hartland. Another Maine company, GVS North America of Sanford, also recently came into compliance with state and federal hazardous waste laws and agreed to pay a penalty to settle charges of violations of hazardous waste regulations by EPA's New ... Show Full Article

IMF Executive Board Concludes 2018 Article IV Consultation With Kosovo
WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 -- The International Monetary Fund issued the following news release:

On December 17, 2018, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation [1] with Kosovo, and considered and endorsed the staff appraisal without a meeting. [2]

Following three years of robust economic growth, the economy is expected to continue to grow at 4.0 percent in 2018, led by investment, consumption, and services exports. Inflation is projected to remain subdued at 0.9 percent. The budget deficit under the fiscal rule definition is expected to be around ... Show Full Article

EPA Awards California $187 Million for Drinking Water and Wastewater Projects
LOS ANGELES, California, Dec. 18 -- The Environmental Protection Agency issued the following news release:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded more than $187.3 million to California for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure improvements.

"These funds will be used for 183 local projects that will boost the economy while improving water systems," said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. "EPA is committed to investing in local infrastructure that will benefit the communities we serve."

EPA awarded $187.3 million to California's Clean Water and ... Show Full Article