The Obama Administration has an energy policy they call the All-of-the-Above Energy Strategy. Here it is on the Whitehouse website: https://www.whitehouse.gov/energy/securing-american-energy
On drilling for oil beneath the ocean, the Whitehouse website says:
Safe and Responsible Domestic Oil and Gas Production
In 2010, in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama administration launched the most aggressive and comprehensive reforms to offshore oil and gas regulation and oversight in U.S. history and put in place new safeguards to protect the environment. These measures help to ensure that our nation can continue to safely and responsibly develop offshore energy resources. The Administration continues to develop and implement a series of standards that will make oil and gas production and transportation safer, including in hydraulic fracturing, arctic drilling, and rail safety.
The Obama Administration has completely retooled the review and regulation of energy development in the USA. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has replaced previous agencies and consolidated numerous review and regulatory functions.
I found a FAQ on the BOEM website that has helped me understand oil spill risk in the Chukchi Sea, where Shell will be doing exploratory drilling. Here is the FAQ sheet: http://www.boem.gov/Risk-and-Benefits-in-the-Chukchi-Sea/ and I suggest reading it if you are interested in understanding the risk assessment.
And if you want to go a bit deeper, and look at a very interesting technical report about how risk is modeled, here is another link: http://www.boem.gov/Ocean-Science-2014-Oct-Nov-Dec/
The federal agencies involved in reviewing and issuing permits for projects such as the Shell exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea have numerous experts in various scientific disciplines, as well as many other scientists at universities and science/engineering companies under contract. These reviews and permits are not conducted and issued by bean counters or anonymous clerks with rubber stamps!
OK, this is good stuff, keep up the conversation, and check your sources, of course.