Ohio Gov. John Kasich said the state would be prudent in developing the Marcellus and Utica shales, maintaining tough environmental regulations while looking to attract jobs and investment.

“We cannot let our fears outweigh the potential,” Kasich said in his state of the state address on Tuesday. “Let’s take our time. We’ve only had 36 wells drilled, but the good news is [it] looks pretty good. [We have already had] billions of dollars worth of investment in this state and that’s all good as well.”

The Republican governor’s speech was delivered to a joint session of the Ohio General Assembly.

“You cannot degrade the environment at the same time you’re producing this industry,” Kasich said. “It is not acceptable and it’s not a false choice. The biggest companies know that you need to have tough environmental rules. They can’t be complicated, they can’t be over the top, but we need to have them.

“We can’t have some yahoo come into this state and damage this whole industry because they’re irresponsible. The biggest companies understand that we need to take care of things like high-pressure pipelines. We don’t want a high-pressure pipeline explosion in our state. We have to take care of the gathering lines. We have to make sure that the wellhead is not going to contribute to contamination of the groundwater.”

Kasich lauded MarkWest Utica, which is a joint venture between MarkWest Energy Partners LP and The Energy & Minerals Group, for its plans to build two processing facilities and a fractionator in the state (see Shale Daily, Feb. 2; Jan. 3). MarkWest CEO Mark Semple was in the audience.

“This is really exciting and way up the food chain,” Kasich said. MarkWest’s investment totaled $500 million and is to create up to 700 construction jobs and as many as hundreds of permanent jobs, both direct and indirect.

The two processing complexes are to be in eastern Ohio’s Harrison and Monroe counties. The Harrison complex would provide 200 MMcf/d of processing capacity by 2013. The Monroe complex is also scheduled to come online in 2013, but capacity plans haven’t been finalized. A new 100,000 b/d fractionation, storage and marketing complex would also be built in Harrison County.