Much appreciated was Edgar Allen Beem’s opinion piece (“Happy (belated) Earth Day!” April 29) offering the opportunity to reminisce on Earth Day and acknowledge the leadership of Maine’s environmental movement of the 60s and 70s by Republicans “Hoddy” Hildreth, Harry Richardson, Joe Sewall and Marion Fuller Brown. In this group might have been included Jon Lund, Ezra “Jim” Briggs and Clinton “Bill “ Townsend. The latter, though not a legislator, inspired Mainers through his tireless lifelong devotion to Maine’s environment. Where has all that good Republican leadership gone?

These days, as Beem states, “….Republicans under Trump are the enemies of the environment, working frantically to roll back environmental protection laws … ” But the effort by Maine’s Republican Party to roll back environmental protection laws was much alive prior to Trump and recognized years ago by former Maine state Sen. and House Majority Leader Harrison Richardson when, in support of the Saco River Corridor Commission, he stated in a previously undisclosed letter of April 20, 1995, to Republican Jeff Butland, president of the Maine Senate:

“As a life-long Republican I am very concerned that some of the leadership of the party seems to believe that the way to succeed at the polls is environmental bashing. I think that it is a mistake and a very bad one. Certainly the administration of some of our environmental regulations could be improved upon but that fact simply provides no basis for trashing proven environmental protection measures. It seems that the cost of doing so is alienation of substantial numbers of Republicans who believe that the word ‘conservation’ is really an extension of the term ‘conservative.'”

When will they ever learn?

R. John Wuesthoff