In the last few years, various environmental groups have tried to portray hydraulic fracturing — sometimes known as “fracking” — as a new process, but in reality the process is anything but new.
According to David Bleakley of the Eastern Kansas Oil and Gas Association, hydraulic fracturing — where water is pumped down a well to rupture the oil-bearing strata hundreds or thousands of feet below the surface — has been in use since the late 1940s. The first “frack” was performed in western Kansas in 1947. What is relatively new is the combining of horizontal drilling techniques and fracking, but even this process has been used for more than a decade.
Fracking has become a convenient club, not just in major oil-producing states such as Oklahoma and Texas, but also in minor production states like Kansas. Bleakley claims that whether it’s environmentalists, people who favor another industry, or the landowners, it’s become a strategy to use fracking as an excuse. Bleakley believes part of the problem is that people opposed to fracking in particular and oil and gas exploration in general do not generally clarify all their connections.