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.

Pages

Disaster Preparedness
5:53 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

New Research And Maps Highlight Need For Earthquake, Tsunami Prep

Subduction of the Juan de Fuca Plate under the North American Plate controls the distribution of earthquakes and volcanoes in the Pacific Northwest.
Credit USGS

The earthquake and tsunami threat to the Northwest from the offshore Cascadia fault was in the news in multiple ways Thursday. Canadian researchers have reconstructed a prehistoric record of great earthquakes on that shared fault. It reconfirms that we're due for another Big One. Coincidentally in Oregon, tsunami preparedness is getting a renewed look.

Read more
Electric Cars
4:47 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Fueling Up For 84 Cents Per 'eGallon'

Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 4:04 pm

Imagine paying less than a dollar per gallon for your commute, compared to today's statewide averages of $3.84 in Oregon and Washington and $3.80 in Idaho for a gallon of gas. Eighty-four cents in Idaho and Washington -- or 96 cents in Oregon -- per gasoline gallon equivalent is how much the US Department of Energy figures it costs to recharge an electric car in each state.

The agency's assistant secretary David Danielson announced an online cost comparison calculator Tuesday for what he calls the "eGallon."

Read more
Battery Powered Cars
5:24 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Low-Cost Leases Electrify Plug-In Car Sales On West Coast

Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 3:17 pm

A couple of years ago, Democratic politicians at the state and national levels set heady goals for battery powered cars. For example, in his 2011 State of the Union speech, President Obama said, "With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015."

Read more
Rob McKenna
4:41 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Wash. GOP Standard-Bearer McKenna Launches New Website

Washington Office of the Attorney General

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 4:36 pm

Former Washington Attorney General and Republican candidate for governor Rob McKenna is back in the public eye. McKenna launched a political website and blog Monday called Smarter Government Washington.

McKenna says he has no plans to run for office, but wants to stay in touch with the many supporters he's gathered over the years.

Read more
Privatized Liquor
5:45 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Liquor Privatization In Washington State, One Year Later

June 1 will mark one year since grocers, big box stores and other private retailers started selling liquor in Washington state.
Credit Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

As of June 1, it will be one year since grocers, big box stores and other private retailers started selling liquor in Washington state. The voter approved privatization initiative has sent prices unexpectedly higher. Also, the government is collecting more tax revenue than anticipated.

Read more
Vegetarian Trout
7:30 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Farmed Trout Go Vegetarian (Sort Of), Taste Virtually The Same

Alternative feeds resulted in slightly different colors and textures in trout fillets.
Credit Tom Banse

The search is on for a cost-effective alternative fish food. And we don't mean the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream flavor. What we're talking about is the pellets fed to farmed fish. A key ingredient in commercial feed is other fish caught in the wild. Northwest trout farmers - and some salmon growers - recognize that practice is unsustainable. But trout are carnivores. They can't just become vegetarians, or can they? Correspondent Tom Banse joined a taste test to see if seafood consumers can tell any difference.

Read more
Unusual Power Plant
5:07 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

Unusual Funding For Unusual Proof-of-Concept Power Plant

A renewable energy consultant and the Oregon Institute of Technology have come up with an unusual financing plan for an even more unusual power plant idea.

Read more
Equity Crowdfunding
8:00 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Should State Green Light Equity Crowdfunding?

Throwboy founder Roberto Hoyos
Credit Tom Banse

Crowdfunding websites have grown rapidly as a way to raise money for creative ventures... everything from movies to scientific research to clever inventions. You might have heard of Kickstarter, Indiegogo or Rockethub. It would be just a small leap to use those same platforms to sell shares in a startup. That's illegal right now, but maybe not for long. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

Read more
Electric Car Sales
4:44 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Nissan Electric Car Sales Booming In Pacific Northwest

Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 7:37 pm


The automaker Nissan says sales of its fully electric Leaf compact surpassed all other Nissan models at dealers in the Seattle and Portland areas this spring. The announcement Wednesday runs counter to the prevailing wisdom that adoption of plug-in cars has been sluggish.


At Nissan USA headquarters, electric vehicle marketing & sales director Erik Gottfried says he's scrambling to ship enough Leafs to meet demand in the Pacific Northwest. The car maker juiced its plug-in sales by slashing the sticker price and offering low-cost leases.

Read more
Washington Unemployment
3:57 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Unemployment Rate Down To 7 Percent In Washington State

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 2:59 pm

The unemployment rate in Washington state is down to a flat 7 percent. That news from the state employment department Wednesday. The agency recorded a drop in the jobless rate of 0.1 percent in April.

State labor economist Scott Bailey says that puts Washington's rate at the lowest it's been since the end of 2008. "Overall, we're seeing accelerating growth in terms of jobs compared to say a year ago."

Bailey estimates a net gain of 3,800 jobs statewide last month.

Read more

Pages