We investigate how grassroots stakeholder engagement in municipal meetings shapes the decision making of local elected officials (LEOs) by examining the choices LEOs in New York State made on how to regulate high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) or fracking. We analyzed the content of 216 meeting minutes and 18 policy documents for 13 municipalities in New York. Our observations suggest that government responsiveness to local activism is shaped by the level of contestation between grassroots stakeholders. They reveal that contestation among grassroots stakeholders encourages LEOs to try to deflect responsibility for regulating fracking. When this contestation is high, LEOs tend to pursue actions which may limit but not prohibit HVHF within their jurisdiction. In contrast, when there is no contestation, LEOs more actively pursue substantive policy actions that prohibit HVHF. Generally, we find that that the level of contestation among grassroots stakeholders about HVHF impacts the political actions LEOs take.