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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Investing Into Citizenship
5:06 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Foreign Investors Learn 'Bridge To Nowhere' Leads To Visas After All

Viewed from above Medina, Wash., the new SR 520 floating bridge takes shape next to the current bridge.
Credit WSDOT

For a while, it looked like a major highway project across Lake Washington near Seattle could end up as a "bridge to nowhere" for nearly 100 immigrant investors. But now, after a long wait, the federal government has given the green light to process the green card applications of these wealthy businesspeople in exchange for their help financing the new SR-520 floating bridge.

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Northwest Drought
4:22 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Drought Conditions Expand Across Inland Northwest

Droughtmonitor.unl.edu.

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 4:19 pm

Federal agencies have expanded how much of the Northwest they think is suffering from drought.

An updated map released Thursday shows 88 percent of Idaho's territory is now categorized in moderate to severe drought. Just over half of Oregon is similarly parched. Washington state is faring better with just a sliver of land on the Idaho border classified in drought conditions.

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Unemployment Rate
4:38 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Washington Jobless Rate Holds Steady In June

The Washington unemployment rate stands at 6.8 percent.
Credit Andreas Klinke Johannsen / Flickr

The unemployment rate held steady in Washington state in June. It stands at 6.8 percent, according to the monthly update released in Olympia Wednesday.

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Cory Monteith
4:44 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Coroner: Heroin-Alcohol Mix Killed 'Glee' Actor Cory Monteith

Actor Cory Monteith was found dead in a Vancouver, British Columbia, hotel room on Saturday.
Credit Greg Hernandez / Wikimedia Commons

We now know what killed Cory Monteith, one of the stars of the popular TV series "Glee." The British Columbia Coroners Service Tuesday said toxicology testing points to a fatal overdose of heroin mixed with alcohol.

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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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