Holden’s Kitchen Grease Theft Bill Approved By Legislature

Monday, August 18, 2014

AB 1566 Goes to Governor

Sacramento – The California State Legislature has overwhelmingly approved Assemblymember Chris Holden’s bill to strengthen laws against stealing used cooking oil. The Assembly gave final approval to Holden’s AB 1566 which increases penalties for stealing grease and beefs up law enforcement’s efforts to stop modern-day-rustlers.  The vote was - 70 to 0.

Used cooking oil from deep fryers in restaurants all across the state has become a hot commodity that can be worth hundreds of dollars when converted into clean-burning biofuel. It is often targeted by grease thieves who see it as a way to make an easy haul. The penalties have been so minor, many law enforcement agencies don’t even respond when owners report the theft.

“As the alternative fuels market keeps growing, the demand for inedible kitchen grease based biofuels will grow as well,” said Assemblymember Holden. “The price increases stemming from this new demand will make grease theft a more lucrative crime in the coming years. AB 1566 provides law enforcement with the tools to combat grease theft and protect the burgeoning biofuels market 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.”

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. Thieves often strike in the night and syphon off the used grease and sell it on the black market. It has been an on-going safety and environmental issue in many areas.

AB 1566 now goes to the Governor for signature.