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If Massachusetts wants to create jobs and retain residents, it must be at the forefront of new technologies and emerging industries. The University of Massachusetts Lowell is working toward that goal with its proposed nano and biotechnology facility, and now state Rep. Barry Finegold is taking the lead in pushing for incentives to encourage the growth of the hydrogen fuel cell industry in the Bay State.

Already there are several Merrimack Valley companies involved in creating products using this emerging technology. Within the next 10 to 20 years, hydrogen fuel cells could help the United States break its dependence on foreign oil.

Finegold, an Andover Democrat, plans to file legislation, probably sometime next month, that will help Massachusetts become a leader in hydrogen fuel cell technology by providing tax incentives allowing such businesses to grow. Meanwhile, he is striving to educate lawmakers and the public about the importance of the technology for Massachusetts’ future. If the right investments are made and the necessary legislation approved, Finegold believes hydrogen fuel cell technology will be instrumental in revitalizing the job market and will help the state retain its best and brightest.

“We are pushing for jobs and pushing for an improved economy,” Finegold explained. “This technology is our race to the moon.”

He may well be correct. The technology to have cars run on hydrogen fuel cells is far closer to completion than many people realize. Not only would such technology reduce our dependence on oil from the Middle East, it would also keep the environment cleaner and help reduce global warming.