WASHINGTON—Saying his department had been considering the measure for several years, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced official plans Tuesday to remove a gross, grime-covered penny from circulation. “The truth is that nobody uses this coin any longer, largely because you can barely even see Abraham Lincoln’s profile beneath some kind of caked-on black gunk,” said Lew, noting that the one-cent piece had fallen out of favor due to the indeterminate sticky film coating its entire surface, which Treasury officials speculated might have come from gum, residue from some type of sugary drink, or something else altogether. “There was a time when this was a valued, usable coin that didn’t have lint adhered to it, but that time has long since passed, and now we believe the moment has come to retire it once and for all. At this point, the penny is more a nasty green color than copper anyway, and frankly, we have no clue why. Seriously, what could that possibly be?” At press time, Treasury officials had delayed withdrawing the penny from circulation until they could pry it off the quarter it was stuck to.