The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection rejected a request last Friday to allow Cross Sound Cable to activate the electric cable running under the Long Island Sound from New Haven to eastern Long Island.

The permit originally granted to Cross Sound Cable mandates that the cable be buried 48 feet below the surface of the Sound. While the company has yet to meet this requirement, it had asked the DEP for permission to proceed in good faith that the requirement would eventually be met.

Cross Sound Cable successfully made such an arrangement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is supervising the project.

Rather than directly denying the amendment, the DEP cited a moratorium established by Public Act 02-95 that prevents it from ruling on any application connected with utility cables and the Long Island Sound.

“We are precluded from making a final decision — under the moratorium,” wrote Charles Evans, director of the Office of Long Island Sound Programs of the DEP, in a letter to Cross Sound Cable. “This Office has closed your COP [Certificate of Permission] application.”

The moratorium bars the DEP from ruling on this matter until June 2003. Cross Sound Cable officials could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal praised the DEP’s decision.

“The state is unified in enforcing permit requirements that protect the public interest,” Blumenthal said in a press release.

He added that Cross Sound Cable should make every effort to comply with the requirements outlined in its permits.

“Cross Sound should cease its campaign to circumvent the public interest and legitimate process, whether here or in Washington,” Blumenthal said.

Ashley Westbrook, a spokeswoman for Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, said DeLauro was very happy about the ruling.

“We applaud the DEP’s denial of the permit request,” Westbrook said. “We strongly believe that the CSCC needs to meet those permit requirements.”

DeLauro sent a letter to Evans the day before the permit was rejected urging the DEP not to amend it.

“I strongly urge you to maintain your position and require them to meet their commitments before they are allowed to energize the cable,” DeLauro wrote in the letter.

Both DeLauro and Blumenthal have voiced opposition against the cable project in the past. Most recently, the two officials called for an investigation of potentially illegal White House involvement in the project.

“We will continue to seek appropriate scrutiny and investigation of its questionable activities,” Blumenthal said.