Recent technological innovations in unconventional oil and gas (UOG) production have transformed the global energy landscape. The combination of hydraulic fracturing—commonly referred to as “fracking”—with horizontal drilling in shale plays across the United States has made the nation the top producer of both natural gas and petroleum, after a long hiatus from the top of the list. However, the public is largely marginalized from collective decisions about if, when, and where UOG production should occur. This marginalization occurs via lack of recognition and authentic participation as well as stymied community capacity to make decisions about zoning and regulating UOG production. The purpose of this article is to interrogate the procedural justice consequences of private participation for individual landowners as they: (1) negotiate leases with agents of oil and gas (O&G) companies and (2) work to have lease terms adequately followed by industry. To do this, we draw on over 100 interviews with Colorado and Pennsylvania citizens who have participated in private negotiations with the O&G industry regarding development of their land or minerals. Using these data and an environmental justice lens, we argue that meta-power—the power to structure the conditions of social contexts—frames negotiations between corporate actors and members of the public, shaping the outcomes of these interactions toward development and away from authentic participation by community members.