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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BPA Management
4:19 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

BPA Shakeup In Wake Of Alleged Hiring Misdeeds

Former BPA head Bill Drummond
Credit Bonnevill Power Administration

There's been a management shakeup at the Bonneville Power Administration. The U.S. Department of Energy replaced BPA's agency head and chief operating officer without explanation. The move came just before the Tuesday morning release of a damaging Inspector General report.

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Exploding Targets
4:35 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Forest Service, BLM Ban Exploding Targets In Northwest

Tannerite is a consumer grade exploding target
Credit Rik Rose / Flickr

Federal land managers have banned the use of exploding targets on public lands in the Northwest. The concern is wildfires.

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Military Base Buffer Lands
4:27 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Federal Agencies Pool Money To Preserve Buffer Around Military Base

File photo of the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team training at JBLM in 2012.
Credit Spc. Reese Von Rogatsz / US Army

Urban development around military bases in the Northwest and across the nation is creating a headache for the U.S. Defense Department. So Wednesday, several federal agencies announced they will pool money to preserve buffer lands, starting with Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma.

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Columbia River Treaty
4:09 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Canada Defends Hydropower 'Entitlement' From U.S. Northwest

Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 2:50 pm

Here's a little known fact that may affect your power bill: Every year, public utilities in the Northwest give British Columbia several hundred million dollars worth of electricity. That's to compensate Canada for managing the upper Columbia River to minimize flooding and maximize hydropower downstream.

Americans are pushing for a better deal, but the B.C. government is preparing to defend what's now considered an entitlement.

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Canadian Bomb Plot
4:48 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Mounties Thwart Plot To Bomb Canada Day Celebration In Victoria

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 3:33 pm

Police in British Columbia Tuesday announced that they foiled a terrorist plot to bomb Monday's Canada Day celebration in Victoria.

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Cascadia Fault Zone
5:01 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Research Cruise Investigates 'Lock Zone' Of Dangerous Offshore Fault

Crew members of the R/V Atlantis recover the submersible "Jason," after it connected a chain to an undersea seismometer off the coast of Oregon.
Matt Cooper University of Oregon

This week a research ship is retrieving dozens of seismometers that have spent the last year on the ocean floor off the Northwest coast. Earthquake scientists hope the data they're about to get will shed more light on the structure of the offshore Cascadia fault zone. That plate boundary will be the source of the Big One whenever it rips.

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Oil Terminal
4:55 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Huge Rail-To-Ship Crude Oil Terminal Proposed For Port of Vancouver, Wash.

The proposed Tesoro/Savage crude oil terminal would be built on this rail loop at the Port of Vancouver, Wash., on the Columbia River.
Credit Port of Vancouver USA

Oil refiner Tesoro and a terminal operating company named Savage detailed plans Thursday for the biggest crude oil shipping terminal to be proposed in the Northwest. It would be located on the Columbia River at the Port of Vancouver, Wash.

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NPR Story
4:50 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Huge Rail-To-Ship Crude Oil Terminal Proposed For Port of Vancouver, Wash.

Port of Vancouver USA

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 7:20 am

Oil refiner Tesoro and a terminal operating company named Savage detailed plans Thursday for the biggest crude oil shipping terminal to be proposed in the Northwest. It would be located on the Columbia River at the Port of Vancouver, Washington.

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Northwest Heat Wave
5:49 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Northwest's Hottest Days Of The Year So Far Are Looming

National Weather Service

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 4:28 pm

The weather forecast calls for an abrupt switch from cloudy and showery to a heat wave beginning as soon as Thursday. Next week could start with the hottest days of the year so far in many places around the Northwest.

For Portland, the National Weather Service is forecasting a high of 88 on Sunday and 91 on Monday.

For Seattle, a high of around 80 on Monday.

Spokane could see the mercury hit 96 on Sunday and near 99 by Tuesday.

Boise and Medford could hit triple digits by Saturday and 105 degrees on Monday.

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Research Chimpanzees
4:35 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

No Room In Northwest For Hundreds Of Retiring Research Chimps

Thomas Lersch Wikimedia

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 3:08 pm

The National Institutes of Health Wednesday announced it will retire the great majority of chimpanzees used in federally-supported medical research.

The institute director says the use of our closest animal relative for invasive studies can no longer be justified in most cases. That means more than 300 chimps are headed into retirement. But neither of the two chimpanzee sanctuaries here in the Northwest say they're prepared to take new chimps.

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