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Activist to stand trial for allegedly trying to shut down an oil pipeline

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NORTH DAKOTA—An environmental activist is due to stand trial Monday for allegedly targeting an oil pipeline in North Dakota as a broader effort to draw attention to climate change.

Michael Foster faces multiple felony and misdemeanor charges in North Dakota, including criminal mischief, conspiracy, reckless endangerment and criminal trespass.

Foster was among 11 activists arrested when they tried to shut down pipelines in North Dakota, Minnesota, Montana and Washington state last October.

The defendants are trying to use what's known as the necessity defense, or justifying a crime by arguing it prevented a greater harm.

If convicted, Foster could face more than 20 years in prison and could be fined more than $40,000.

Trial is scheduled to start Monday in Pembina County.