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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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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Border Patrol
4:13 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

U.S. Senate Seeks To Limit Border Patrol Checkpoints, Searches

Under current law, Border Patrol agents can set up vehicle checkpoints within 100 miles of the Canadian border.
Credit U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The U.S. Senate wants to put a stop to Border Patrol checkpoints and warrantless searches taking place far from the border with Canada. The policy change was included in an amendment to the larger immigration overhaul being debated this week. It pleases civil liberties and immigrant advocates, but concerns frontline Border Patrol agents.

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Currency Exchange And Economy
5:23 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Falling Canadian Dollar Bears Watching Says Border Expert

Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 5:08 pm

The Canadian dollar -- affectionately known as the "loonie" -- is dropping in value. 

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Hanford
4:07 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Wash. and Ore. Concerned By Possible Worsening Leak At Hanford

US Department of Energy

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 3:44 pm

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says the disclosure of a worsening leak at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is "the most disturbing news."

The U.S. Department of Energy Friday said an underground tank that holds some of the nation's most troublesome radioactive waste may be leaking into the soil. An Oregon official said the development adds "urgency" to the long-running Hanford cleanup. 

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NOAA Drone
4:41 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

NOAA Drone Flying Experimentally Off Olympic Coast

Ed Bowlby NOAA

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 5:09 pm

Civilian use of aerial drones is still greatly restricted, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has won permission to test a small unmanned aircraft off the Olympic Coast of Washington. 

A two-week trial run by the federal science agency is now underway.

The NOAA drone looks like an oversized remote-control model airplane. It has a 9-foot wingspan and can fly for about two hours on battery power.

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Washington Jobs
5:20 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Wash. Jobless Rate Continues To Fall, Down to 6.8% In May

Credit Andreas Klinke Johannsen / Flickr

Slow improvement in the labor market continues in Washington state. The latest unemployment rate came out Wednesday. 

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