The state House of Representatives Wednesday approved a one-year moratorium on construction of utility crossings in the Long Island Sound — including a controversial plan to build an electric power cable stretching from New Haven to Brookhaven, N.Y.
The 138-11 vote calls for a comprehensive environmental assessment of all utility projects in the Sound, which is regulated by a battery of state and federal agencies.
The bill now goes to the Senate, where a bipartisan group of shoreline area lawmakers has lobbied heavily in favor of it.
Power line opponents hailed the moratorium as a way to block a project they say could hurt the environment and hinder shipping in New Haven Harbor. The cable could hurt ratepayers by sucking power out of the state to Long Island, N.Y., where it can fetch a higher price, critics say.
But a spokesman for the Canadian company seeking to build the power line called the moratorium unfair, because the project has received all the necessary state and federal approvals.
Cross-sound officials have said the project will protect the state from blackouts and provide a way to get power in emergencies. They deny it would damage the environment or impede shipping in New Haven Harbor.
The House vote comes just days after a Superior Court judge issued a temporary order preventing construction of the cable from beginning until at least next week.