This article provides a critique of the UK government’s regulatory response to ‘fracking’. It shows how government has adopted two distinct schemas of regulation, which may usefully be classified under the headings ‘regulatory domain’ and ‘regulatory dexterity’. These schemas rely on very different interpretive conventions and are in many ways contradictory. Yet, government uses both ‘domain’ and ‘dexterity’ arguments simultaneously in order to advance its policy in favour of fracking. The article explains how two seemingly different regulatory approaches work together towards the same policy goal, and highlights the role of law in facilitating technological development.