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Energy and Mines Minister Craig Leonard has ruled out a shale gas moratorium in the past. (CBC)

A group of eastern New Brunswick mayors are asking for a moratorium on shale gas exploration and a meeting with the province’s energy minister.

The Kent Regional Service Commission voted 16-1 on Thursday night in favour of imposing a moratorium.

Marc Henrie, the chairman of the commission, said the group hopes seismic testing work in the area can be put on hold.

He said the mayors would like more consultation and better communication between the communities, the provincial government and SWN Resources Canada, which is conducting seismic testing in the area.

"We're not joining a bandwagon against government or any companies," Henrie said.

"We just want to work co-operatively with government and any companies that want to be doing exploration of shale gas to make sure we have a guarantee for our environment and we can inform citizens about what's going on. That's the biggest issue right now, lack of information from all sides, all parties, on this issue."

Henrie said regional service comissions usually do not intervene in this manner, but he said they have a moral mandate to speak up on this issue.

The commission covers the municipalities, including Bouctouche, Rexton, Richibucto, Rogersville, St.-Antoine and St.-Louis-de-Kent, as well as several local service districts.

Meeting requested with energy minister

Henrie said the regional commission has already drafted a letter to Energy and Mines Minister Craig Leonard.

He said he hopes to meet with the energy minister in the coming weeks to discuss why a moratorium on shale gas exploration should be imposed.

The Alward government has repeatedly rejected the idea of imposing a moratorium on the shale gas industry.

Louis LaPierre, a professor emeritus in biology at the University of Moncton, recommended against a moratorium in a report he wrote for the provincial government and released last fall.

Premier David Alward called the Liberal party’s demand for a moratorium on the industry anti-jobs in May.

Kent County has turned into the centre for anti-shale gas protests this summer.

SWN Resources Canada is testing in the area and protesters have repeatedly blocked roads to stop the trucks from getting around the area.

The RCMP has arrested more than 30 people at the various protests. The police are also investigating damage done to equipment and trees that have been cut to block the roads.