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A Schism Over the Softer Side of Westlands

REBRAND FOR WESTLANDS — For 22 years, Tom Birmingham served as general manager of the Westlands Water District, aggressively lobbying for farmers' water access and making enemies of environmental groups along the way.

He fought for controversial proposals like expanding Shasta Dam, saw longtime lobbyist David Bernhardt appointed as Interior Department secretary under Trump, and earned the sobriquet the "Darth Vader of California water."