Tom Banse

Regional Correspondent

Tom Banse covers business, environment, public policy, human interest and national news across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be heard during "Morning Edition," "Weekday," and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

Before taking his current beat, Tom covered state government and the Washington Legislature for 12 years. During the early 1990s, he worked in the Seattle bureau of United Press International. He got his start in radio at WCAL–FM, a public station in southern Minnesota. Reared in Seattle, Tom graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota with a degree in American Studies. In 1996, he spent two months reporting from Bonn and Berlin, Germany on an Arthur F. Burns Fellowship. In 1999, he traversed the globe to cover the Pacific Rim (Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan) on a Jefferson Fellowship.

When not sifting through press releases, listening to lobbyists, or driving lonely highways, Tom enjoys exploring the Olympic Peninsula backcountry and cooking dinner with his wife and friends. Tom's secret ambition is to take six months off work and travel to a faraway place where there are no radios.

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Radiation Testing
7:26 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Donors Pay To Test Seawater For Traces Of Fukushima Radiation

Swimmer Wayne Kinslow prepares to dive into Puget Sound at Alki Beach, a place he personally paid to have tested for traces of Fukushima radiation.
Credit Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

It's been more than three years since the Fukushima nuclear plant accident resulted in a spill of millions of gallons of radioactive cooling water into the Pacific. Oceanographers projected that it could take until this year for highly diluted traces of that spill in Japan to reach our coast (i.e., the West Coast of North America). Radiation experts don't believe there is cause for alarm on our shores. But some coastal residents are stepping forward to pay for seawater testing just to be sure. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

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Wolverine Threatened Status
7:21 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Endangered Species Listing For Wolverine Looking Doubtful

A close-up shot of a wolverine.
Credit Tambako the Jaguar / Flickr

A federal threatened species listing for the wolverine is looking increasingly unlikely. Protected status was put on the table in anticipation of harm due to global warming. At present, the fierce and rare carnivore is making a slow comeback in the Northwest and Northern Rockies. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

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Wild Horse Removal
7:16 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Feds To Remove Fewer Wild Horses From Western Rangelands This Year

The Bureau of Land Management plans to remove fewer wild horses from rangelands in the coming months.
Credit MTSOfan / Flickr

The federal Bureau of Land Management plans to capture and remove fewer wild horses from Western rangelands this summer. An agency statement blames budget constraints and already-full holding pens. Correspondent Tom Banse has more.

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Women's World Cup
5:23 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

World Cup Fans Take Note, 2015 Women's Tourney Final In Vancouver, BC

File photo of BC Place in Vancouver, Canada
Credit Province of British Columbia

Organizers of the next (FIFA) Women's World Cup hope to leverage the unusually high interest in this year's men's tournament in Brazil to their benefit. Northwest sports fans may want to note that group play and the 2015 World Cup final will take place just across the border in Vancouver, Canada. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

Vancouver is one of six host cities in Canada for the Women's World Cup next summer. Nine matches including the final will be played in BC Place stadium over the span of a month.

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Recreation Permits
5:50 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Coastal County Tries Tax Gambit To Stop Recreation Fees

Credit Horia Varlan / Flickr

A coastal Northwest county is the first to strike back against pricey recreation permits now being required by some large timber companies. The Grays Harbor County commission voted unanimously Monday to take a tax deferral away from private timberland owners that charge for public access.

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Seasonal Access Permits
7:34 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Timber Giant Begins Selling Seasonal Permits, But Some Push Back

Vandalism and illegal dumping like this on the St. Helens Tree Farm was a key reason for the new access policy says Weyerhaeuser.
Credit Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Timber giant Weyerhaeuser is joining the pay-to-play and pay-to-hunt trend. This week, the largest private forestland owner in Oregon and Washington will begin selling seasonal access permits to hunters, horse riders, hikers and other recreators. The Washington state-based company is not the first to charge access fees. But the breadth and high prices it will charge are generating more push back than before. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

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Seattle Delta Hub
7:26 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Delta Air Lines Building Hub In Seattle, Putative Partner’s Hometown

Port of Seattle fire trucks salute a Delta Airbus A330 as it departs for Hong Kong on Monday.
Credit Port of Seattle

Pacific Northwest travelers will get ringside seats to see if two airlines can be partners and rivals at the same time. One of those "frenemies" - if you will - is Seattle-based Alaska Airlines. And in the other corner is Delta Air Lines. The two are long-term contractual allies. But the relationship is being tested.

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Aircraft Laser Danger
7:56 am
Fri June 6, 2014

FBI Offers Big Reward To Rat Out People Who Aim Lasers At Aircraft

The FBI is offering rewards up to $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest of people who have aimed laser pointers at aircraft. Deliberate targeting of aircraft in flight has increased significantly in the last couple of years in the Northwest. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

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Lamprey Ceremony
7:20 am
Tue June 3, 2014

Lamprey Fishing Blessing Ceremony Has Tribal Sovereignty Undertone

Children and tribal elders alike danced the eel dance at Clackamette Park on Monday.
Credit Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

You've no doubt heard people say they're "goin' fishin'." But how about going "eeling?" As in, fishing for eel.

For centuries, Native Americans from Boise to Wenatchee to the southern Oregon coast have harvested Pacific lamprey, colloquially called eels. Monday, the Warm Springs and Yakama tribes held a season-opening "blessing ceremony" at Willamette Falls. Correspondent Tom Banse reports the event happened against a backdrop of treaty rights tension over management of the dwindling fish.

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Rainier Climbing Accident
5:26 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Six Climbers Presumed Dead After Long Fall On Mount Rainier

Six climbers are presumed dead after a fall on Mt. Rainier.

Six climbers who were descending from near the top of Mount Rainier have perished in the worst accident on the snow-capped volcano in decades. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

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