A final budget negotiated by Republican leaders in the General Assembly and Gov. Pat McCrory appears to doom North Carolina’s Biofuels Center – a decision the Center’s board had anticipated.

The budget agreement, which was disclosed Sunday night, eliminates state General Fund support for the Biofuels Center, reports WRAL’s Mark Binker.

The decision will eliminate $2 million in support.

Expecting the decision, the executive committee of the Center began implementing a 90-day shutdown process at the end of June. 

The Biofuels Center in Oxford has planned to shut down operations “responsibly, carefully, and efficiently,” Chief Executive Officer Steven Burke told WRALTechWire on July 1.

Both the House and the Senate zeroed-out Biofuels funding in the new fiscal year budget. The Center’s one hope had been that McCrory might step in. His budget had proposed a 20 percent cut in the Center’s $2 million in funding. 

[Related news: Biotech Center budget is slashed; and Commerce Department to be reorganized.]

As June ended, the Center began winding down.

“The executive committee initiated a process that it, the staff, and others will find enormously unsettling: shutting down the Center responsibly, carefully, and efficiently over 90 days,” Burke explained.

While the Center is not out of money, every cent will be needed to wrap up business.

“Enough [funding remains] we hope to maintain the Center for that 90 day project, contracts, communications, and complicated fiscal shut down,” Burke said.

“No funding provision for careful wrap up and closing is included in budget provisions seen to date.”

Earlier, when WRALTechWire first talked with Burke about the proposed budget cuts, he described them as “unprecedented.”

Never before, he says, has the state pulled the fiscal rug out from under a non-profit organization geared to “carry out the will of the state.”

The state budget allocation is the Biofuels Center’s “only source of funding,” Burke says. Some $2.4 million from a settlement the Center received last year was a one-time infusion.

Burke can’t believe that politicians want to scuttle “five years of work to build North Carolina as a biofuels center. North Carolina has tremendous potential. This not only can benefit our agricultural areas but also technology.”