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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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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Cross-Border Pollution Case
5:15 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Judge To Consider Cross-Border Columbia River Pollution Case

A lead and zinc smelter in Trail, British Columbia, dumped millions of tons of refining waste into the Columbia River between 1896 and 1995.
kootenayvolcano Flickr

Wednesday, a federal judge in Yakima will consider a long-running case about cross border pollution in the Columbia River. The Colville Tribes and the state of Washington are trying to force cleanup of heavy metals dumped in the river for nearly a hundred years by a Canadian smelter.

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Wash. Wolf Pack Kill
6:13 am
Mon October 8, 2012

Differing Ideas Offered To Avoid A Repeat Of Washington Wolf Pack Kill

Courtesy of USFW Services

The director of Washington's Fish and Wildlife Department Friday said he hopes never again to have to order the killing of an entire wolf pack, as happened last month. In Olympia Friday, cattlemen and wolf lovers offered the agency radically different ideas for how to avoid a repeat.

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Silent Earthquakes
5:12 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

'Silent Earthquakes' Ripple Under Cascadia

The past five weeks saw two swarms of "slow slip and tremor" in the Northwest.
Pacific Northwest Seismic Network

Parts of Washington and Oregon are in the midst of silent earthquakes this week. You can't feel this so-called "slow slip" quake and it doesn't cause damage. Still, scientists want to learn more about the recently discovered phenomenon.

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Toxic Cleanup Tax
4:07 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Wash. State Supreme Court Says Toxic Cleanup Tax Is Constitutional

The Washington State Supreme Court ruled on the toxic cleanup tax Thursday.
Washington Courts website

The Washington State Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the state's toxic cleanup tax. A ruling issued Thursday turns aside a challenge from gas station owners.

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Olympic Mountain Goats
6:49 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Rangers Say Hazing Of Aggressive Mountain Goats Is Working

USFS wildlife biologist Kurt Aluzas demonstrates "aversive conditioning."
Photo courtesy Wash. Fish & Wildlife Dept.

Forest and park rangers on Washington's Olympic Peninsula say they've reduced the risk from aggressive mountain goats. They did it by hazing the animals for much of the summer. Olympic National Forest reopened a popular hiking trail Monday. Correspondent Tom Banse has the story from Mount Ellinor, near Hoodsport, Washington.

For the past three months, the steep trail up Mount Ellinor has been closed. The reason for that is that multiple hiking parties reported feeling threatened by insistent mountain goats.

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