An ethnographic moment that stands out to me is when a yearly visitor to the Grand Staircaise Escalante region emphasized the importance of preserving the area under monument status. In a rare moment of recognizing the energy use/demands of even those who are preservation/wilderness proponents, he said "look, I know we have to get our energy from somewhere and maybe for now it's going to be fossil fuels, but please, not here. This place is sacred." Although everyday energy use and the use of petroleum to make such outdoor recreation products as kayaks is occasionally brought into view instead of displaced, these comments are often divorsed from thinking about how people in this area get energy, where the materials extracted from this area go, and what other forms of energy production might replace this extraction. Rather than arguing for a transition of how energy is produced, there seems to be a sense of inevitabilty of extraction but a desire for such industrial processes to be carried out somewhere else.
Thus far I am not sure yet what kinds of organizing there is around energy transition in/for the area. However, there is organizing around trying to "keep fossil fuels in the ground," and organizations such as Grand Staircase Escalante Partners and the Southern Utah Wilderness Association further efforts to keep federally-owned land in southern Utah under protected "national monument" status. However, what appears to be the case is that such efforts are driven more by a desire to keep these landscapes unmarred by fossil fuel extraction processes--i.e. maintaining a "pristine" envrionment--and less focused on discourses about how people in southern Utah or further afield get their energy.
Energy production in southern Utah is varied, but tends to be grouped together. For instance there are many solar generating areas around Cedar City along with a couple geothermal plants, petroleum and natural gas based plants around St. George, coal plants in the middle of the state, and a smattering of hydroelectric plants throughout southern Utah. There is a wind park in Monticello in southeast Utah. Closer to Salt Lake is primarily natural gas and hydroelectric plants. The UNEV pipeline runs the length of the state, from Salt Lake City (where it connects to the Chevron pipeline that runs further north) to Las Vegas, NV.
The geology of southern Utah shapes how this area has been identified as a place of resource extraction, and the presence of coal and petroleum deposits shape political and economic interests in public lands debates. The geologic history of the area created prime conditions for petroleum deposits, particularly in southeastern Utah. These geologic conditions have created significant uranium deposits as well. Much of the coal, oil, and uranium extracted from Utah is sent for use elsewhere, although there are a number of petroleum power plants in the area. This geologic setting is part of what puts Utah, and specifically southern Utah, on the national map regarding how public lands should best be managed, and whether energy companies should receive leases for activity on public lands.