- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Sierra Club is calling on U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to resign after he said Thursday that fossil fuel development can help combat sexual assault.

Speaking during an event hosted by NBC News and Axios in Washington, Mr. Perry spoke about his recent trip to Africa and how fossil fuels are needed to bring electricity to remote villages there.

“It’s going to take fossil fuels to push power out into those villages in Africa, where a young girl told me 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 to read by the light of a fire and have those fumes literally killing people,’ ” Mr. Perry said, according to The Hill.

“But also from the standpoint of sexual assault,” he added. “When the lights are on, when you have light that shines, the righteousness, if you will on those types of acts.”

The Sierra Club, one of the nation’s most powerful environmental groups, called Mr. Perry’s comments “blatantly untrue.”

“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,” Executive Director Michael Brune said in a statement Thursday afternoon.

“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,” he said. “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.”

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