DENVER (AP) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says a long-tailed mouse found only in Colorado and Wyoming will remain protected under the Endangered Species Act.

The agency on Monday rejected a petition filed by homebuilders and ranchers who argued the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse shouldn’t be protected. They said it isn’t a distinct subspecies but is essentially the same as other, more plentiful mice.

The agency says the petition didn’t include substantial evidence.

Pacific Legal Foundation, which filed the petition, says it’s disappointed. The group says it will review the decision with its clients before deciding whether to challenge it in court.

The mouse was listed as threatened in 1998. Its identity has been disputed for years, prompting multiple legal challenges.

Opponents say the protections result in costly and unnecessary restrictions on land use.

(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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