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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Faint Radiation In Tuna
4:48 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Minute Traces Of Radioactivity Found In Pacific Tuna

Delvan Neville, a graduate researcher with OSU's Radiation Health Physics program, marks samples of albacore being tested for radioactivity.
OSU Radiation Health Physics program

Researchers with Oregon State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say they’ve detected minute amounts of radioactivity from the Fukushima reactor meltdown in albacore tuna caught along the West Coast. It's not considered a health threat at all.

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History Of Washington Tsunamis
6:42 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Coastal Marshes Yield Up History Of Great Northwest Quakes And Tsunamis

PSU archaeologist Sarah Sterling (right) and Simon Fraser University Prof. Ian Hutchison examine possible tsunami deposits near the mouth of Salt Creek, Clallam County, WA.
Photo Credit: Brian Atwater

Researchers have found fresh evidence of 26-foot-high tsunami waves that washed more than three miles in to the Olympic Peninsula.

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First Snow Forecast
4:40 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

First Snow Of The Season Forecast For Mountain Passes

Winter is coming: the National Weather Service is predicting the first snowfall of the season this weekend in the mountain passes around the Northwest.
WSDOT Flickr

The National Weather Service is predicting the first snowfall of the season this weekend in the mountain passes around the Northwest. Cold air arriving behind a frontal system could drop the snow level to around 3,000 feet in Washington and generally between 3,000 and 4,000 feet in the Oregon Cascades through early next week.

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Earthquake Drill
4:54 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Northwest Businesses Join Schools In Biggest Ever Quake Drill

Students at Chinook Middle School in Lacey, Wash., take cover and brace during the Great ShakeOut drill.
Courtney Schrieve

Thursday, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho joined their Western neighbors for an earthquake drill of unprecedented scale. Some of the record participation was due to businesses joining in the drill. In our area, among those practicing were architects, utilities and banks.

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Drier Winter In Northwest
4:45 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Forecast Predicts Drier Than Normal Winter For Northwest

This map from the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center forecasts below average precipitation in the Northwest this winter.
National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center

Rain may be in the forecast for much of the region tonight and tomorrow, but the Northwest is in for a drier than normal winter. That's according to an updated long-term forecast released Thursday by the National Weather Service.

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Coordinated Earthquake Drill
4:51 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Millions To Take Part In Coordinated Earthquake Drill

Waipawa kindergarten in New Zealand teaches children how to be safe in emergencies.
Sue White

Numerology and disaster preparedness come together Thursday morning on a big scale. At 10:18 on 10/18, eight Western states along with British Columbia and other places are coordinating on an earthquake and tsunami drill. Nearly a million people are signed up to participate in the Northwest.

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Natural Gas Exports
6:12 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Natural Gas: Keep It Here Or Export? Debate Comes To The Northwest

Portland attorney Robert Lorey (left) and Astoria marine biologist Dave Lillis protest natural gas exports outside the Warrenton Community Center
Photo by Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Natural gas production in North America has increased so dramatically that no fewer than 17 companies have now applied to export the fuel overseas. Two gas export terminals are proposed in the Northwest - one near Coos Bay, Oregon, and the other at the Port of Astoria. This week, federal energy regulators are getting an earful of public testimony. Correspondent Tom Banse reports on the possible effects all this could have on the price you pay for natural gas.

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Natural Gas Exports
6:06 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Hearing On Natural Gas Exports Turns Raucous

The prospect of coal exports has stirred controversy in the Northwest this year. But near Astoria last night, it was natural gas exports that drew a capacity crowd. Correspondent Tom Banse reports what happened when federal regulators invited comment on a proposed natural gas export terminal at the mouth of the Columbia River.

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Columbia River Pollution
6:18 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Cross Border Pollution Argued In Federal Court

The Trail, BC smelter abuts the Columbia River near the U.S. border.
Photo courtesy Teck Resources, Ltd.

A case involving cross border pollution of the Columbia River rests in the hands of a federal judge today. A Native American tribe and the state of Washington have sued to hold a Canadian mining giant responsible for smelter waste that washed downriver from British Columbia into Washington. Correspondent Tom Banse reports on the latest go-around in U.S. District Court in Yakima.

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Cross Border River Pollution Case
5:55 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Cross Border River Pollution Case In Hands of Judge

The question of whether a smelter in British Columbia can be held liable in Washington state for cross border pollution is now in the hands of a federal judge. Lawyers argued the case in Yakima Wednesday. At issue is refining waste dumped in the Columbia River just north of the border in Canada, which then washed downstream. Correspondent Tom Banse reports from Yakima.

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