Rick Perry Just Said That Fossil Fuels Help Prevent Sexual Assault


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer

Why is Rick Perry allowed to speak in public? Andrew Cline/Shutterstock

Rick Perry, the head of the Department of Energy (DoE), has surpassed himself. Talking to journalists earlier today, he claimed that fossil fuels will help to prevent sexual assault.

During an energy policy discussion, he said: “From the standpoint of sexual assault. When the lights are on, when you have light that shines, the righteousness, if you will, on those types of acts… fossil fuels is going to play a role in that. I think it’s going to play a positive role.”


It’s a little difficult to try and work out what he means by this. Is he trying to say that when you have lights on, the perpetrators of sexual assault are easier to see? This is obviously true - but studies show that it has little effect on such crimes being committed. Either way, to use such a horrific issue to tout the benefits of oil, gas, and coal is mindblowingly strange.

Whatever he meant, we’d say that this is one of the worst arguments for fossil fuels that the world has ever seen. It’s spectacular in its awfulness. With that odd reference to "righteousness", the comment has even led several online to suspect Perry thinks sexual predators must be vampires.


Incidentally, the Secretary of Energy made these remarks shortly after returning from a trip to Africa, where he claims that a lack of energy is causing people to die.

“Let me tell you where people are dying, is in Africa, because of the lack of energy they have there,” he said during the same policy meeting.


He’s used this as an argument on numerous occasions to explain why America needs fossil fuels – so that Americans won’t also perish in some sort of post-apocalyptic future. This is despite the fact that 1) America and Africa are two completely incomparable locales, and 2) clean energy, which a large number of African nations are adopting instead of coal, produces electricity too.

Regardless, tying fossil fuel adoption in the US to sexual assault in Africa is ludicrous.


Perry has an impeccable track record for saying things that will make your brain ache and scream. Just recently, he claimed that fossil fuels are positively affecting the climate, which many thought was his zenith of incomprehensibility. This new nefarious nugget, however, clearly takes the winning spot.

This curious fellow, who has repeatedly forgotten both the name and purpose of the very agency he is inappropriately in charge of, has regularly failed to grasp some very basic scientific and mathematical concepts. It makes you wonder why he’s in charge of an agency, then, that primarily handles nuclear energy and waste research.


If you want the picture-perfect definition of a fish out of water, Perry is it.


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