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Monday, September 3, 2012 - 6:00am

Documents: Officials Questioned Range Fuels Loans

Government officials who approved financing for a south Georgia ethanol fuel plant that cost taxpayers at least $75 million did so despite repeated warnings and strong opposition by some of the federal overseers who reviewed the projected.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that documents obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request show the doubts that were surrounding the Range Fuels plant at Soperton, Ga., before it obtained government backing.

Range Fuels was proposed to transform wood chips into ethanol fuel, but it closed last year without producing any usable ethanol. Taxpayers lost at least $75 million in loan guarantees and grants.

The plant received financial backing from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in early 2009 just weeks after an economist called it a "high risk venture."