Gov. John G. Rowland will veto a bill that would place a one-year moratorium on utility projects in Long Island Sound, his spokesman said yesterday.

The bill passed the Senate 31-2 on Wednesday and the House 138-11 last week.

Rowland “has significant concerns about its constitutionality and the liability it exposes the state to,” said Christopher Cooper, the governor’s spokesman.

Rowland had said earlier Thursday that the bill would likely face a challenge in court because it would stop a project already approved — a 24-mile electricity cable that would run below the sound from New Haven Harbor to the former Shoreham nuclear power plant site on Long Island.

The project, which is nearing construction, has been approved by the Connecticut Siting Council and the state Department of Environmental Protection.

A two-thirds majority of the House and the Senate would be needed to override a veto.

Rowland is expected to sign an executive order today that would put in place his own version of a moratorium and study. It would stop construction for six months on any utility proposals that have not been approved while a study of the need for additional power and gas lines would be done by the Eastern Connecticut State University Energy Center.

U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman weighed in on the issue from Washington, urging the state Legislature to override the veto.

“I am disappointed that Gov. Rowland wants to rush approval of new energy lines across Long Island Sound before we have a full understanding of the environmental impacts of all the proposed projects,” said Lieberman, who has a home in New Haven. “A one-year moratorium would apply some sensible brakes on cable projects that, taken together, could have a serious adverse impact.

There are currently several proposals to install electricity cables and gas pipelines from Connecticut to Long Island, in addition to the existing cables and pipelines that have been under the sound for years.

–Associated Press