BOARDMAN - Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor was in Boardman Monday to talk about efforts in Columbus to reform the state's regulatory policies, but she knew she couldn't leave town without addressing natural gas and oil drilling, injection wells and earthquakes.
She took a couple minutes away from talking about CSI, Ohio's ''Common Sense Initiative'' to discuss shale drilling, ''obviously, because I know where I am,'' Taylor said.
Taylor told the crowd at Mr. Anthony's Banquet Center, there for a Regional Chamber event, the administration's ''highest priority,'' is to protect health and safety of the public and of the environment.
Later, Taylor, talking with the media, said the administration wants the straight facts from studies being done to determine the cause of earthquakes that have rattled Trumbull and Mahoning counties since March.
She noted the more than 170 injection wells in Ohio operating without increased seismic activity.
''We want to make sure we're making decisions, informed decisions, based on the facts,'' Taylor said.
Gov. John Kasich on Dec. 31, the same day a 4.0 magnitude quake shook the Mahoning Valley, ordered a ban on all deep well injection operations within a 5-mile radius of the Youngstown site, including four non-operative wells.
A day before, well operator Northstar Disposal Services, voluntarily closed the well after the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said more study was needed to determine if there was a connection.
The New Year's Eve quake was the largest among the 11 that have struck the Mahoning Valley since March 17.
Taylor said the governor acted ''very quickly to make sure we are following our first priority, to protect the health and safety of the public and the environment.''
A definitive link between the injection well and earthquakes has not been established.
Outside the banquet center, four members of Occupy Youngstown picketed Taylor's opposition to the federal health care law, and fracking, the method by which oil and natural gas is extracted.
They claim drilling is making people sick.
As for CSI, Taylor said it's an initiative to remove roadblocks to business development in Ohio, ''very simply efforts to eliminate bureaucracy and red tape that kills jobs in Ohio,'' she said.
The effort also includes maximizing efficiency among state agencies, she said.