The Democrat-controlled legislature failed early Wednesday to override Republican Gov. John G. Rowland’s veto of a one-year moratorium on all utility projects across Long Island Sound.

A two-thirds majority was needed in both the House and the Senate to override the veto.

The House approved the override 102-43 Tuesday evening, marking the first time either the House or the Senate voted to override a Rowland veto since he became governor in 1995.

But the effort fell two votes short in the Senate early Wednesday. The vote was 22-12 to override the veto, with 10 Republicans who approved the original bill reversing their votes.

The bill’s moratorium would have applied to a bitterly contested electric power cable that would stretch from New Haven Harbor to Brookhaven, N.Y.

Several Republicans who changed their vote complained that the bill contains a loophole allowing Northeast Utilities to repair a pipeline in the sound near Norwalk or even install a new one.

“We have put a lot of money into cleaning up Long Island Sound,” said Sen. Judith Freedman, R-Westport. “But we cannot allow the threat to the one-mile swath.”

Sen. Donald Williams, D-Killingly and co-chairman of the Environment Committee, led the override effort in the Senate, calling it an historic opportunity to protect Long Island Sound.

“If we fail in that task tonight, we fail the ecology of Long Island Sound,” Williams said before the vote.

Rowland spokesman Chris Cooper said early Wednesday that the governor was pleased his veto was sustained.

“He’s a great supporter of Long Island Sound, but he really doesn’t have the luxury as governor of taking a narrow or extreme view of the sound,” Cooper said.

–Associated Press