Geothermal experiment on Newberry Volcano gets OK

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BEND, Ore. (AP) -- The federal government has given the final OK to plans by a geothermal energy company to pour millions of gallons of water into the ground on the flanks of the Newberry Volcano south of Bend.

The Bulletin newspaper (http://bit.ly/IZvxeO) reports the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has concluded the experiment planned for this October by AltaRock Energy will not cause any significant earthquakes or contaminate local groundwater.

AltaRock is demonstrating a new technology for fracturing hot rocks to create the reservoir of fissures needed to produce commercial levels of geothermal energy.

The project has been given $21.5 million in federal stimulus funds.

BLM concludes that any earthquakes won't be felt in LaPine, and a mile of solid rock between the test well and local groundwater will protect the aquifer.

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Information from: The Bulletin, http://www.bendbulletin.com