The American Petroleum Institute plans to deepen its grass-roots campaigning, with a new manager to "coordinate the association’s efforts to develop, mobilize and sustain a political infrastructure of individuals, groups, and coalitions to advance priority advocacy issues with elected officials." The organization announced on March 1 that it has hired Deryck Spooner away from the Nature Conservancy, to serve as API's Senior Director for External Mobilization. Spooner is based in Washington, DC, and previously managed climate change advocacy outreach work at the Nature Conservancy. Both organizations lobby different agendas, and Spooner's switching allegiances seems like a significant change in career path. API seeks to educate public officials about the critical role of oil and gas in our economy, but has had less recognizable impact on educating the public. A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Spooner, 42, is close to completing a Ph.D. in political science at Howard University. “Deryck has extensive experience in the strategic and tactical aspects of both political and issue campaigns,” said API President and CEO Jack Gerard. “He’s a veteran of coalition building and grassroots mobilization and will play a vital role in our advocacy work at a critically important moment for US energy policy. We’re extremely fortunate to have him on our team.” “The position at API is a tremendous opportunity and challenge,” Spooner said. “My father was a petroleum engineer in the oil business. I spent part of my childhood on the rigs. I know how important oil and natural gas are today and will be for the nation’s energy future even as the use of alternative energy grows. I’m determined to work hard to help ensure the nation’s energy policies reflect this reality”. [I won't quibble with his familiarity with the petroleum business, but how many operators allow kids on drilling rigs? Was he playing around the machinery?] Writing for the New York Times blog, Green Inc., Annie C. Mulkern quoted API spokeswoman Cathy Landry, "Jack's vision is to mobilize the 9.2 million people whose jobs rely on the oil and gas industry. We do plan to step that up." Mulkern interviewed Spooner, who said, "I have worked for vastly different organizations throughout my career. The bottom line is it's all about advocacy, that's what I'm passionate about. Mobilizing and organizing people to influence the public process and public policy is what I truly love to do." "At the end of the day, I don't necessarily believe that the views of [the Nature Conservancy] and API are incompatible." API members use technology "to ensure that the places that they drill are not impacted," Spooner said, while the Nature Conservancy uses a scientific approach in deciding where to protect land and water. API members, he said, "don't just want to drill anywhere for drilling's sake. There's a lot of science going into where they drill." Lots of science indeed.