Vermont angling to become the green version of Silicon Valley

Vermont, which has long tussled with Maine to avoid the tag of “whitest state in the nation,” is going in search of some color — green, that is. Lending depth to its nickname, the Green Mountain State is luring eco-engineers to its verdant flanks and helping established green companies expand. Noting that the state boasts “clean air, no billboards,” Gov. Jim Douglas (R) says he hopes green-tech will be to Vermont what high-tech is to Silicon Valley: “We wanted to find a niche, an economic sector in which Vermont can excel. Environmental engineering and sustainable technology is that niche.” But bizfolk in the state say it’s not easy: “The tax burden is high, and the costs of health insurance have just risen and risen,” said David Bowles, president of an oil-spill cleanup equipment maker. “And there’s a sort of philosophical disconnect between people who love this view of Vermont as an unspoiled place where business doesn’t mix.” Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how do you like your state?