The state Legislature has approved a bill to increase penalties for stealing used kitchen grease from restaurants.

The bill, AB 1566, by Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, was crafted in response to a rise in thefts of used kitchen grease, which has become more valuable as an ingredient for cleaner-burning biofuel. The bill toughens penalties on thieves and gives local police the authority to impound suspected illegal hauling trucks for up to 15 days. At $3 a pound, a truckload of used kitchen grease can net thieves up to $600.

Restaurant operators and grease recycling companies pushed for the bill, which had no official opposition.

The bill was approved on Monday and now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature or veto.

Check out the Business Journal’s previous coverage of this issue.