EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner was given an award Friday from the American Lung Association, which singled her out "for her leadership in the fight for clean air."
Browner was cited for issuing a string of new air pollution control measures, including tougher emission requirements on automobiles, more stringent air quality standards that attack smog, and cuts in interstate pollution from coal-burning power plants.
"A true champion for clean air ... under her leadership, EPA has taken the toughest actions in a generation to safeguard public health from the threats posed by air pollution," said Ernest Franc, the association's president.
Browner has been head of EPA for seven years, longer than any of her predecessors.
Industry groups have criticized Browner's air initiatives, arguing that in some cases they are not based on good science.
Her regulations calling for ozone and soot standards are in limbo because of court challenges.
Another regulation, aimed at reducing interstate pollution for coal-burning power plants, has also been blocked, at least temporarily, by a the courts.