One-and-a-half bird.

The toxic, unpleasant sheen that had the country abuzz a few months ago is back. No, not that Sheen. The one in the Gulf.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration puts it drily:

This hotline is being started for new reports of sheen of unknown origin in and near lease block Mississippi Canyon 252. This incident is likely related to reports in August 2011 … Although the source of these sheens may be the wrecked BP Macondo Well, this relationship has not been established at this time.

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If the mystery sheen is from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, does that mean that this thing is just going to keep leaking forever? That, like Charlie, we’ll never be rid of it, despite its noxious odors and massive societal damage?

Environmental lawyer Stuart Smith — who, we’ll note, is involved in legal action against BP — says: yeah, maybe.

As alluded to in NOAA’s incident report, oil leaks in the area have happened before in the time since the unchecked flow of oil from the damaged rig was first capped in the summer of 2010. Last August, officials confirmed a fresh leak of sweet Louisiana crude from the Macondo field where the BP rig had exploded. Both BP and federal officials tried to initially deny the problem when the story was broken on this blog, but shifted gear after pilot Bonny Schumaker from the Wings of Care, followed by independent journalists, confirmed the oil sheen and the pungent aroma of crude which was fingerprinted fresh Macondo oil by several laboratories.

Experts had predicted such oil leaks would likely take place after the Deepwater Horizon rig was capped. That’s because the blocked oil continues to seek a path to the surface, and that could create fissures or cracks in the sea floor for the hydrocarbons to escape. This situation is exactly what we’d warned about in 2010 — that the rig disaster, caused by BP’s reckless and foolish actions, would continue to wreak havoc on the Gulf environment for years to come.

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Here’s hoping that Smith is wrong.

In-progress jokes that were rejected during the writing of this post (such as it is):

  • Something about tiger blood? Tiger blood leak?
  • Ashton Kutcher sopping up oil with his hair? Ashton Kutcher drilling in the Gulf?
  • Bigger disaster than Wall Street? Something about Hot Shots?
  • Explosions leading to gross fluids