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Mont. preps for drilling in 'Alberta Bakken'

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) -- State and federal officials next month will offer residents of north-central Montana a primer on the potential environmental and community effects of anticipated oil and gas development.

The March 1 meeting in Choteau comes as drilling in the rich Bakken fields of eastern Montana and western North Dakota spills over into areas of Glacier, Teton and other central Montana counties.

Tom Richmond with the Montana Board of Oil and Gas says several companies are drilling exploratory wells. They are seeking oil and gas in an area straddling the Canada border known as the "Alberta Bakken."

State Department of Environmental Quality officials say the Choteau meeting will include discussions of hydraulic fracturing and other drilling techniques, protection of water supplies and regulations for "man-camps" such as new trailer courts and campgrounds.