(Image by Nina Lincoff/Medill News Service)

WASHINGTON— The commission President Barack Obama set up in late May to look into the Deepwater Horizon accident issued its final report on the largest oil spill in U.S. history Tuesday, recommending that Congress, federal agencies and the oil industry undertake reforms that could drastically affect oil management and production in the U.S.

“As a nation we can take concrete steps that will dramatically reduce the chances of another Macondo,” said Co-chair Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla.

Recommendations include the creation of an independent safety institute within the Department of the Interior “with enforcement authority to oversee all aspects of offshore drilling safety.” The commission recommends that Congress allot 80 percent of the money from Clean Water Act penalties to restore the affected regions. In addition they recommend that the EPA should develop distinct plans and procedures to address human health impacts during such spills. The report calls on the oil industry to embrace, “a culture of safety.”

Co-chair William Reilly said that the commission’s findings are “a hopeful message” that problems like the Deepwater Horizon explosion can be managed and avoided in the future. “This is not Obama’s Katrina,” he said.

The commission said that the U.S. government and oil industry need to match the regulation of foreign countries like the United Kingdom and Norway, who have much safer systems. The fatality rate in the U.S. is five times that in Europe.

When asked if partisanship would impede legislation in Congress, Reilly said that “these recommendations will override ideological beliefs” and the importance of fixing the broken oil production system will break through party lines. The commission believes many of the recommendations can be adopted using by executive agencies without congressional action.

The report follows seven months of investigation into the blowout that killed 11 workers and sent more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Commission member Fran Ulmer, an Alaska Democrat, said her hope is “that people take the time to really understand what went wrong in the Gulf of Mexico and this terrible tragedy and see that it wasn’t just a single event. It was something that speaks volumes about how we manage risk and how we do, or don’t, put a premium on safety…my hope is that [people] will reflect on it and make change happen.”

One of the commission’s goals is to educate citizens on their power to generate reform. By reaching out to the Gulf-area and the surrounding region through public events and speeches, the commission hopes more people will get involved.

In a conference call with reporters later in the day, Aaron Viles, deputy director of the Gulf Restoration Network, said that he agrees with much of the commission’s report. However, Viles stressed that the disaster is still a physical reality for those on the Gulf, and should not be forgotten. “Just so folks know, the oil is still here. The oil is still in Plaquemines Parish,” said Viles.

Cynthia Ramseur of the Gulf Restoration Network said the commission’s report is a step towards restoration, it is only a small step, and means nothing if the recommendations are not put into action.

“Louisiana is ground zero…we need money to get it done,” said Clint Guidry from the Louisiana Shrimp Association.

Calls to BP, Halliburton and Transocean for comment were not immediately returned.