A big opportunity for Scott Pruitt and Team Trump to demonstrate its support for American ingenuity and innovation

The economy will be front and center when Congress returns next week with action on the debt ceiling, the budget and tax cuts coming soon. The Trump administration has already made significant strides toward getting the economy back on track, especially when it comes to regulatory reform – progress that’s been reflected in the markets.

The Trump administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in particular under the leadership of Administrator Scott Pruitt, have taken a “smart growth” approach to cutting red tape and rolling back regulations. 

Contrary to what many on the left may say, Trump and Pruitt are not anti-regulation as long as regulations aren’t overly costly and burdensome and they don’t hinder or hurt American job growth that is the administration’s top priority.

As evidence, Pruitt was right to defend the EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy or SNAP program when companies from France and Mexico sued in federal court to have it scrapped. A three-judge panel ruled in a split decision, 2-1, to get rid of this program but there’s a chance the full court could reverse the ruling if Pruitt appeals. 

This ruling was unfortunate, as it permitted foreign companies to transcend U.S. private sector investment and innovation that led to job growth here at home and the exporting of new technology around the world. 

American ingenuity, combined with over a billion dollars of private investment – without a dime coming from the federal treasury – resulted in the development of new, safer environmental technology, only to see a court side with foreign companies.

The EPA program that created the landscape for these innovative, new technologies is actually rooted in the conservative environmental stewardship of former President Ronald Reagan and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Pruitt should stand up for American investment, innovation and our workers by appealing this decision as there’s a chance the full court may side with him and the Trump administration.

In urging him to do so, former conservative presidential candidate Steve Forbes noted the ruling hurts U.S. companies and workers who invest and innovate.  As Bloomberg News Intelligence chemicals analyst Christopher Perrella noted, “It’s good for the companies and it’s good for the planet. That’s a win-win regardless of your thoughts on climate change.”

Under the EPA’s program new chemical technologies that meet the market demand for certain products were developed with nary a dime from the federal treasury. These new chemicals, known as HFOs, are primarily used for refrigeration in homes, in cars, in mass transit and elsewhere. 

If the ruling stands, private sector investment of over a billion dollars will have been for naught. The fallout could be even worse as the ruling will likely create a chilling effect (no pun intended) over American industry, as why should companies risk investing in the future only to have a court pull the rug out from under them?

Thus the ruling, while initially unfortunate, presents an opportunity for Pruitt and the Trump administration to demonstrate its support for American industry’s ingenuity and innovation – and the workers who provide it – as well as its support for effective environmental stewardship.

The economy is beginning to turn in the right direction and the United States is poised to be a leader on multiple fronts – including investment, development of needed technology, and the exporting of these products around the globe – which will only mean more good paying jobs for the American people.

Ken Blackwell, a former domestic policy adviser to the Trump/Pence Transition Team, is a former Secretary of State and State Treasurer for the state of Ohio and former mayor of Cincinnati.