- Energy Secretary Rick Perry said that expanding fossil fuel production in Africa could have the side benefit of reducing sexual assault. “When the lights are on, when you have light that shines, the righteousness, if you will, on those types of acts,” he said. Perry is a vocal proponent of fossil fuel and has expressed doubt about climate change.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry argued on Thursday that expanding fossil fuel production in Africa could help prevent sexual assault.
Perry was speaking at an event with NBC and Axios in Washington when he said “people are dying” because they don’t have access to energy.
“It’s going to take fossil fuels to push power out into those villages in Africa, where a young girl said to my face, ‘One of the reasons that electricity is so important to me is not only because I’m not going to have to try and read by the light of a fire and have those fumes literally kill people,” Perry said, according to The Hill.
“But also from the standpoint of sexual assault,” he continued. “When the lights are on, when you have light that shines, the righteousness, if you will, on those types of acts.”
Since taking over the Energy Department in March, Perry has been a vocal proponent of fossil fuels and has expressed skepticism about climate change.
The environmental group Sierra Club called on Perry to resign on Thursday.
“It was already clear that Rick Perry is unfit to lead the Department of Energy, but to suggest that fossil fuel development will decrease sexual assault is not only blatantly untrue, it is an inexcusable attempt to minimize a serious and pervasive issue,” the Sierra Club said in a statement. “Women, and particularly women of color, are among some of the most severely impacted by the climate crisis, and it is these same communities that are most at risk of sexual assault.”
“Rick Perry’s attempt to exploit this struggle to justify further dangerous fossil fuel development is unacceptable. He does not deserve to hold office another day with these twisted ideas, and he should resign from his position immediately before he causes any more damage,” the group added.