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Bill to Stop Grease Thieves from Cashing In on New Gold Passes First Legislative Test

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

In the old days of the Wild West it was cattle rustling; today it’s used cooking oil that’s driving the black market.

“Kitchen grease theft has become big business. Thieves strike in the night, siphon off used grease from the backs of restaurants and sell it on the black market to renderers who turn it into liquid gold – biodiesel fuel,” explained Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena). ‘This bill will help law enforcement sort out the legitimate companies from the thieves.” 

Assemblymember Holden’s bill (AB 1566) to combat the growing incidences of kitchen grease theft was overwhelmingly approved today in Assembly Transportation Committee. 

AB 1566 gives law enforcement the tools they need to stop modern-day oil rustlers by beefing up requirements for licensed haulers, increasing the penalties for stealing grease and allowing law enforcement to impound vehicles for up to 15 days. 

“Currently, law enforcement’s hands are tied when it comes to enforcement because grease theft is not included in the vehicle code.” said Holden.  “This bill closes that loophole.  Now that oil prices have skyrocketed, so have grease thefts.  Obviously they’re stealing the grease because it’s worth a lot.”

According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, a typical fast-food restaurant produces 150-250 pounds of grease a week and a fully loaded pumper truck could bring in as much as $900 at a recycling center. 

AB 1566 now goes to Assembly Agriculture for consideration.

—Office of Assemblyman Chris Holden (D-Pasadena)

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