Using federalism as a guide, this research explores the conflicted, complementary and unique natural gas policy paths of the U.S. federal government, Wyoming and Colorado and analyzes how policies facilitate and respond to booms. Federal policymaking has consistently focused on gas ownership, leasing, interstate dispute resolution and fiscal mechanisms to stimulate and manage development. At the state level, policies are designed to enable exploration and production while protecting fuel mineral rights, minimizing waste and generating revenue. During the most recent gas boom, driven in part by technological advances like fracking, policies are being tested from local to national levels. Colorado demonstrates that states can balance economic benefits with environmental and social costs of gas booms, thus providing an example for other gas producing states. Whether states serve as stewards or laggards is a function of federalism and choice, but the direction of federal and state natural gas policy remains a long-term play.