The foreclosure sale of North Carolina's first ethanol plant is drawing an opening bid about equal to the loan guarantees that taxpayers gave as an incentive to develop renewable energy sources.

The Fayetteville Observer reported Wednesday that the Clean Burn Fuels plant in the works since 2005 brought a $35 million bid from its primary lender during a foreclosure sale.

The plant's owners filed for bankruptcy protection in April. The Raeford-based company said the price of ethanol had not kept up with the surging price of corn.

The plant had received $35 million in loan guarantees from the U.S. Agriculture Department in 2007. Millions more came from a bank loan and private investors.

Other bidders have until next week to offer a higher bid for the plant.

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Information from: The Fayetteville Observer, http://www.fayobserver.com

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.