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U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, pictured at the National Press Club, Oct. 16, 2017 in Washington, DC, said Thursday that fossil fuels can help prevent sexual assault.
Drew Angerer—Getty Images

Fossil fuels can help stop sexual assault, Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Thursday.

The former Texas governor and presidential candidate, who was speaking at Axios and NBC News’ Energy in 2017 event, said using fossil fuels to bring electricity to African villages could have a positive impact on health and safety.

“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,” Perry said at the event, NBC reports. “So from the standpoint of how you really affect people’s lives, fossil fuels is going to play a role in that. I happen to think it’s going to play a positive role.”

The energy secretary also said “the science is out” on whether humans are the primary driver of climate change, adding to June comments, as reported by CNBC, that “most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in.”

Perry’s first public run-in with the department he now leads came in 2011, while on the presidential campaign trail. During a televised debate, he notoriously forgot the Department of Energy while rattling off agencies he would eliminate as president.

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Write to Jamie Ducharme at

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