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Energy | Environment

Geothermal Experiment On Newberry Volcano Gets OK

BEND, Ore. — The federal government has given overall approval to plans by a geothermal energy company to pour millions of gallons of water deep into the ground on the flanks of the Newberry Volcano south of Bend.

The Bulletin newspaper reports the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has concluded the demonstration planned for this October by AltaRock Energy will not cause any significant earthquakes or contaminate local groundwater.

The Seattle company is showing off 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.

The BLM says two smaller hurdles remain — installing sensors to detect small earthquakes and a permit for injecting water into the test well.

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