The US’s largest and most influential environmental organisation said Energy Secretary Rick Perry should resign over his remarks that fossil fuels can help prevent sexual assault. The California-based group Sierra Club released a statement on Thursday as a response to Perry, who said at an event in Washington earlier in the day that expansion of energy can help reduce sexual assaults in Africa and fossil fuels will play an important role, reports Xinhua news agency.”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,” Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said in the statement. “Women, and particularly women of colour, 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,” Brune added. In response, the Department of Energy said that Perry’s statement was meant to highlight the way electricity would improve the lives of people in Africa.
Shaylyn Hynes, a department spokeswoman, said that at an energy conference meeting held in Africa last week, some people told Perry how light can be a deterrent to sexual assault and security in remote areas and the Secretary was struck, so he shared the idea with Americans, many of whom take electricity for granted. It is not the first time that Sierra Club has called for the resignation of senior officials of President Donald Trump’s administration.
The group suggested before that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke should resign over chartered air travels. Sierra Club was founded in 1892 by Scottish-American preservationist John Muir. With 3 million members and supporters, it was one of the first large-scale environmental preservation groups in the world and currently engages in lobbying politicians to promote green policies. In addition to political advocacy, the group organises outdoor recreation activities, and has historically been a notable organisation for mountaineering and rock climbing in the country.