Gov. Lewis shares GRIC’s commitment to Green Energy at White House Roundtable

GRIN Staff

Gila River Indian News


Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis attended a White House Roundtable in Phoenix on President’s Day, Feb.  19, to highlight the Community’s commitment to green energy and its recent project to put innovative solar panels over approximately 3,000-feet of canal.


The roundtable, held at the offices of Cartwright School District, focused on the Direct Pay Programs established by the Inflation Reduction Act and how tribes can benefit from investments into clean energy projects.


“Direct pay is going to allow tribes like Gila River to apply directly for funding to offset a lot of these projects that we’re looking at for ‘green technology,’” said Gov. Lewis.


The roundtable also included White House Intergovernmental Affairs Director Tom Perez, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, and Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates. The visit by Perez was part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s fourth Investing in America Tour to highlight opportunities to grow a clean energy economy.


Mayor Gallego called the Inflation Reduction Act an “amazing tool” to lower energy costs and address climate impacts. According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, “elective pay” or “direct pay” is one of two credit delivery mechanisms that will allow state, local, and tribal governments to take advantage of tax credits for clean energy—groups that could not fully take advantage of the tax incentives before.


“I am particularly excited about some of the work [GRIC] is doing with solar [panels] over the canals as well as the (Governor’s) great leadership on water,” said Mayor Gallego.


Perez followed Gallego in touting the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to clean energy. “I’ve never seen an opportunity for a wider array of stakeholders to avail themselves of incredible moments so that you can improve the quality of your community,” said Perez, who was accompanied by Ryan Whalen, Intergovernmental Affairs, and David Eichenthal, U.S. Treasury.


Gov. Lewis, the only tribal leader who participated in the roundtable, was joined by local educators, labor leaders, and representatives from the non-profit sector. The roundtable included a tour of Cartwright School District’s electric school bus as an example of a sustainability fleet option for local schools.


“We have a goal for the [Gila River Indian Community] to develop a blue-green economy,” said Gov. Lewis, explaining that “blue” stands for the Community’s focus on water conservation, while “green” indicates how sustainability, as in the solar-cover canal project, has become a focus for the Community.