The paper reviews coal bed methane developments and their regulation in the states of Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. Queensland, like Pennsylvania in terms of shale gas developments in the US, has adopted a 'go grow' and a learning-by-doing approach to gas extraction. In Queensland, this approach has supported the rapid development of coal-bed methane as an energy source for domestic use, and since 2014, for export markets. By contrast, New South Wales has adopted a 'go slow' approach akin to that followed by New York State in terms of shale gas, but for coal-bed methane extraction. The different pathways followed by the two states allows for a comparison of regulatory change, why regulations have differed, and their benefits and costs. Differences are explained by: (1) the dynamic and fragile nature of a 'social licence'; (2) the nature of the local concerns in the two states; and (3) how and why individuals and communities might support resource developments that impose environmental and other risks. Overall, the study offers a guide as to how and why resource policies have developed differently in neighbouring.