In 2008, as the economy was entering recession, parts of rural Pennsylvania were booming. Energy companies were using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to tap the natural gas reserves of the Marcellus Shale underlying much of the state. In Wayne County, these corporations offered struggling farmers lucrative leases for mineral rights.

Bob Rutledge, whose family has been in Wayne County since the 1840s, owns a money-losing cattle farm. Photographs by Adam Golfer for Bloomberg Businessweek

Photograph by Adam Golfer for Bloomberg Businessweek

In 2008, as the economy was entering recession, parts of rural Pennsylvania were booming. Energy companies were using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to tap the natural gas reserves of the Marcellus Shale underlying much of the state. In Wayne County, these corporations offered struggling farmers lucrative leases for mineral rights.

Bob Rutledge, whose family has been in Wayne County since the 1840s, owns a money-losing cattle farm. Photographs by Adam Golfer for Bloomberg Businessweek

Photograph by Adam Golfer for Bloomberg Businessweek

Fracking Fizzles in Wayne County

Bob Rutledge
Bob Rutledge

In 2008, as the economy was entering recession, parts of rural Pennsylvania were booming. Energy companies were using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to tap the natural gas reserves of the Marcellus Shale underlying much of the state. In Wayne County, these corporations offered struggling farmers lucrative leases for mineral rights.

Bob Rutledge, whose family has been in Wayne County since the 1840s, owns a money-losing cattle farm. Photographs by Adam Golfer for Bloomberg Businessweek

Photograph by Adam Golfer for Bloomberg Businessweek
Signs of a Boom
Signs of a Boom

Real estate signs piled against a wall in Tim Meagher's office in Honesdale.

Photograph by Adam Golfer for Bloomberg Businessweek
Lackawaxen River
Lackawaxen River

The Lackawaxen River runs through the center of Honesdale and flows into the Delaware River.

Photograph by Adam Golfer for Bloomberg Businessweek
Roadside Dissent
Roadside Dissent

An anti-fracking sign on the side of the road in Wayne County.

Photograph by Adam Golfer for Bloomberg Businessweek
Honesdale
Honesdale

Honesdale, founded in 1826, was named after former New York Mayor Philip Hone, head of the Delaware & Hudson Canal Co.

Photograph by Adam Golfer for Bloomberg Businessweek
Dale Teeple
Dale Teeple

Dale Teeple on his farm in Wayne County. He leased three acres to Newfield Appalachia to build a test well for fracking.

Photograph by Adam Golfer for Bloomberg Businessweek
Mike Uretsky
Mike Uretsky

Mike Uretsky, retired New York University professor and resident of Damascus. As a member of the Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance, he has been an advocate for fracking of the Marcellus Shale in Wayne County.

Photograph by Adam Golfer for Bloomberg Businessweek
Test Well
Test Well

A closed natural gas test well. The first in Wayne County, it was completed in 2010, just before the drilling moratorium.

Photograph by Adam Golfer for Bloomberg Businessweek
Well Site
Well Site

Site of the closed test well completed by Newfield Appalachia in July 2010. The well, built on Dale Teeple's property, was the first of its kind in Wayne County. The Delaware River Basin Commission has imposed a moratorium on drilling while it studies the environmental impact.

Photograph by Adam Golfer for Bloomberg Businessweek
Cattle
Cattle

Dale Teeple's farm in Wayne County.

Photograph by Adam Golfer for Bloomberg Businessweek