E2 Round-up: Chu gauges GOP climate support, Avatar’s eco-tinge, and more.

The White House and senators trying to craft a compromise bill hope to blend wider nuclear power financing (among other support for traditional and alternative energy sources) with emissions limits. Chu said a “comprehensive” bill is vital to U.S. economic interests.

“We can be a leader in developing a lot of the technologies around better efficiency and greener sources of energy or we can be a follower and buy these things. A large part of determining whether we’re a leader or a follower depends on our own internal national policies,” he said.

Chu said there’s GOP supporting lurking that goes beyond Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who is working with Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).

“I think there are a number of moderate Republicans. Certainly Lindsey Graham has taken a very brave stand. I think, without going into details, there are half a dozen to a dozen who feel the way I just spoke. They understand the international context. They certainly know about the climate threat and are very concerned about that. They see this as a way to future prosperity,” he said.

While Chu is bullish on Capitol Hill prospects for floundering climate legislation, the White House is hedging its bets – Obama’s budget plan includes other proposals aimed at addressing greenhouse gases. The Wall Street Journal takes a look.

Those ideas include a tripling, to over $54 billion, of loan guarantees available to begin building the first fleet of U.S. reactors in decades. But Obama’s embrace of nuclear power and openness to new offshore drilling is making some environmentalists queasy, the New York Times reports.

Canada’s massive oil sands deposits are becoming an increasingly important source for many oil companies. And changes to Securities and Exchange Commission rules allow companies to formally include oil sands in their listed reserves. That means that on paper, companies like Marathon Oil have a lot more oil, Reuters reports.

In other environmental news, the Associated Press reports that a federal contractor “dramatically underreported” levels of cancer-causing chemicals in tap water at the Camp Lejeune Marine base in North Carolina.

And Avatar director James Cameron tells MTV News that his smash hit is boosting eco-consciousness. The flick, he says, “creates a ripe emotional matrix” that makes people want to act.

“We're getting a tremendous amount of feedback from environmental groups, from people with specific causes,” Cameron tells MTV, “whether it’s indigenous people being displaced by companies to do mining or to do oil drilling, or if it’s environmental groups saying, ‘Let's do some curriculum around Avatar.’”