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SeaWorld orca ban bill stalls

SeaWorld gets to keeps its killer whales in San Diego for at least another year.

A California legislative panel on Tuesday put off action on a proposed ban on captive orcas, choosing to study the matter.

A ban on performing orcas would force SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. to close down one of its signature attractions in San Diego, one of three company parks in the U.S. with performing killer whales. SeaWorld said Tuesday it would seek restitution from the state if the bill is enacted.

“If you ban them, you buy them,” said Scott Wetch, a lobbyist for SeaWorld, which is based in Orlando, Fla.

Anthony Rendon, a Democrat who chairs the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee, said the panel’s study will delay a vote on the bill until mid-2015. Interested parties will be invited to participate in public hearings on the matter. Rendon said he supports the ban.

Assemblyman Richard Bloom, a Democrat from Santa Monica, proposed the ban last month. The bill would end whale breeding in the state and their use in entertainment. Existing orcas would have to be released or kept in an ocean enclosure.

SeaWorld rose 4.3 percent to $30.59 at 2:12 p.m. in New York after gaining 6.3 percent, the most since January. The stock had advanced 2 percent this year as of Monday.

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