(This piece was originally published on January 26, 2018 by NPR.)

House Environmental Affairs Committee Chair Dave Wolkins decided this week not to hear a bill this session that deals with confined animal feeding operations, or CAFOs.

Controversy has sprung up around CAFOs in recent years as nearby homeowners complain about environmental effects and declining property values. Hoosier Environmental Council executive director Jesse Kharbanda says the bill, which his organization helped create, seeks to address issues Hoosiers want solved.

“If you’re a Republican, why would you oppose a bill that would protect property rights?” Kharbanda says.

But Rep. Dave Wolkins (R-Warsaw) says the bill went too far. It included a mandate that all CAFOs be at least one mile from homes. Wolkins says that would render CAFOs impossible. And he doesn’t like a provision that imposes odor standards on the factory farms.

But mostly, Wolkins says, “I am pretty much pro-CAFO because we’re basically feeding the world with these CAFOs and it’s keeping our food prices down.”

Wolkins says he’ll work with advocates on the issue after session.


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