As the Obama Administration promotes the recently proposed EPA rules to limit carbon emissions; the main attack on the rules will be the claimed impact on economic growth and jobs. The fault lines for this communication battle to frame what is at stake is put into context by a US Bureau of Economic Analysis report out this week showing geographic and state-based differences in economic growth for 2013 (see also PRI Marketplace report).

In this case, as pictured above, the states and regions of the country experiencing the fastest growth are oil, natural gas, coal, and mining states led by North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming.

The states that are lagging behind the rest of the country are Northeastern and New England states led by Pennsylvania, New York, Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts. Maine, for example, ranks 41 out of 50 U.S. states for growth in 2013.

Driven by finance, technology and higher education, the major urban areas in these states like NYC, Portland and Boston are outliers in terms of growth and economic stability. Indeed, New York and Massachusetts are already ahead of the EPA rules in taking measures to lower their GHG emissions; bolstered in part by their transition to greater reliance on natural gas supplied by other states; even if ratepayers in New England have yet to see lower prices on natural gas due to limited supply lines into the region and political opposition to expansion.

But elsewhere in the same states and bordering states like Maine; communities are struggling economically and will be highly sensitive to a possible rise in energy prices; a sensitivity reinforced by a spike in home heating bills from extreme winter weather.

This will be an important political and public opinion dynamic to watch and assess via polling and other studies.