There are enormous latent environmental implications in the laying of pipelines, both for the communities through which they pass and for those to which they transport their energy resources. A pipeline corridor frequently crosses undeveloped areas, sensitive environments, agricultural lands, or timberlands. The heavy construction activity taking place within this corridor may interrupt the migratory patterns of caribou, elk or other large animals, or the fish spawning grounds on which local hunting and fishing activities depend. Gravel mining sites impact hillsides or stream beds with scars; and haul roads built to transport materials and equipment cause impacts both inside and outside of the pipeline corridor.
A 1982 study estimated that over 133,000 miles of pipeline were being constructed or planned; if stung together, they would stretch around the globe 5 times.