Actress Shailene Woodley has pleaded not guilty to criminal trespassing on the construction site of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The 24-year-old actress was arrested and charged for one count of misdemeanour criminal trespassing and one count of misdemeanour engaging in a riot, after peacefully protesting about the Dakota Access Pipeline last week, reported Us magazine.
The Divergent star was among around 100 protesters – 26 of whom were later arrested – who turned up to the site to air their views against the proposed pipeline plans, which aims to transport crude oil from the North Dakota Bakken region through South Dakota and Iowa into Illinois, crossing the Missouri River.
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Protesters fear the pipeline project could potentially cause irreversible harm to the drinking water for the Standing Rock community – who live just one mile from the river – as well as the river’s ecosystem.
While The Fault in our Stars actress didn’t attend court in North Dakota on Wednesday, her attorney entered her plea of not guilty on her behalf. The case goes to trial on Monday, and if found guilty Woodley could face up to 60 days in jail as well as a USD 3,000 fine.
It seems her actions have not gone unnoticed either, as it was recently revealed the Department of Justice has halted the pipeline project and ordered the development company to suspend all construction work. The actress, who streamed the protest and her subsequent arrest on a Facebook Live chat, originally claimed she was being arrested because of her fame.
She said in the video: “I’m being arrested! I was down there with everybody else! I don’t know what’s going on, as soon as they came I left. It’s because I’m well known, it’s because I have 40,000 people watching.”