Ohio governor: Drilling, environment compatible

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STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio doesn't need to choose between a developing shale energy industry and a clean environment, Gov. John Kasich told state lawmakers in his State of the State address Tuesday at a top-performing school.

"You cannot degrade the environment the same time you're producing this industry. It is not acceptable," the Republican governor said.

His comments on the developing shale industry were jeered by some members of the balcony audience who were escorted out. "Hey, Steubenville, let 'em know what you think of disruptions," Kasich said.

The governor said he was committed to environmentally safe oil and natural gas development and said he was confident in the responsible outlook of major drillers.

"The biggest companies know that you need to have tough environmental rules," Kasich said.

"They can't be complicated, they can't be over the top, but we need to have them because we can't have some yahoo come into this state and damage this whole industry because they are irresponsible," he said.

Kasich said the initial results from the growing shale development in eastern Ohio are positive. "We've only had 36 wells drilled, but the good news is, looks pretty good," he said.

The governor called on lawmakers to help make sure colleges and universities are preparing the skilled workers that the shale industry needs.