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Biofuels Center issues its own obituary

The state-created Biofuels Center of North Carolina issued its own obituary today, saying it has begun winding down its operations and plans to shut down permanently by Oct. 31. All 14 employees will be out of work within 90 days, without severance payments.

The 5-year-old Oxford-based organization, which is created to help the state develop biofuels made from energy crops other than corn, lost its $4.3 million in annual funding under the reigning Republican majority in the state legislature.

Its office, with experimental plots of Arundo donax and other potential energy crops, will be returned to the N.C. Department of Agriculture. The biofuels center leased the building for $1 a year.

Now that its end is near, the center's announcement dispenses with the usual bureaucratic boilerplate and blandishments. Instead, the center characterizes its own demise as a setback for North Carolina, a competitive advantage for neighboring states and a sign of legislative myopia.

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