Republican leaders said yesterday they were hopeful that the U.S. House would vote to allow oil and natural gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas), the House majority whip, said, “We feel very, very confident we will be able to crack the backs of radical environmentalists.” The Arctic Refuge provision is part of the broad energy bill up for discussion on the House floor today. The bill would grant oil and gas companies as much as $15 billion in tax cuts over the next decade. During debate on the bill, the House will vote on an amendment to raise the average fuel-efficiency of SUVs and light trucks to 27.5 miles per gallon by 2007.