CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Northeasterners who are digging deeper into their pockets to pay for firewood this season can add a new scapegoat to the roster of usual market forces: fracking.
A timber industry representative in New Hampshire says loggers are increasingly selling hardwood to contractors building hydraulic fracturing well sites in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale formation to build construction "mats." Those mats allow contractors to move heavy equipment over mucky ground, wetlands or soft soils year round.
The increased demand has crept down the chimney into fireplaces. Prices in parts of New England are averaging $325 a cord and can even push past $400 for a seasoned, delivered load. That's anywhere from $50 to $75 more a cord than last year.
About 2.5 million U.S. households burned wood to keep warm in 2013.