ROLLING HILLS, Wyo. (AP) — Criminal cases brought by U.S. wildlife officials for killing or injuring protected eagles dropped sharply in recent years, despite growing concern that wind energy and other pressures are jeopardizing golden eagle populations.

The falloff in enforcement was revealed in data obtained by the Associated Press

It came as officials ramped up issuing permits that will allow companies to kill thousands of golden eagles over several decades without legal consequence.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service field agent numbers are at historical lows amid growing concern that a proliferation of wind turbines to feed a growing demand for renewable energy is jeopardizing golden eagle populations.

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