SANTA BARBARA, CA - Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District has been honored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its commitment to clean air by encouraging car-free travel in Santa Barbara with its "Santa Barbara Car Free" program.

Fourteen organizations and one individual were recognized by EPA's 10th annual Clean Air Excellence Awards honoring initiatives that reduce pollution, promote environmental education and create green products and jobs throughout the United States.  

Santa Barbara Car Free started in 1998 to address the peaking ozone levels during visitor season after the county was designated a "serious" ozone nonattainment area. Visitors can find a number of environmentally-friendly incentives on the project's Web site, These include free maps, Amtrak travel specials, discount packages with local hotels, attractions, and restaurants, all designed to reduce pollution and establish Santa Barbara as a sustainable tourist destination and community.

This year's awards recipients were selected out of 124 applicants and represent achievements in the following categories: clean air technology, education/outreach, regulatory policy, innovation, and transportation efficiency. Two additional special awards are given for outstanding individual achievement and for overall environmental excellence.

More information on this year's Clean Air Excellence Awards is available at