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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Electric Cars
6:06 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Government Fleets Soon To Include More Fully-Electric Cars

Commuter Steve Marsh (left) of Kent, Wash. was honored Monday as the first in the nation to log 100,000 miles on an all-electric Nissan Leaf.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 5:57 pm

Just like consumers who postponed buying new cars during the recent recession, government agencies also put off vehicle replacements. But now procurement officers are getting busy again.

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Columbia River Treaty
4:28 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

U.S. Side Calls For Columbia River Treaty To Be 'Modernized'

File photo of Grand Coulee Dam, looking Southeast.
Gregg M. Erickson Wikimedia

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:27 pm

The American negotiating position became clearer Friday in what promises to be difficult bargaining to update a water treaty with Canada.

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Special Work Visas
5:45 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Washington State Sees Big Jump In Use of Temporary Foreign Farmhands

File photo.
Anna King Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 5:38 pm

Northwest farmers hired significantly more foreign guest workers this season under a special immigration program.

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Tsunami Debris
4:20 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Washington Shuts Down Tsunami Marine Debris Hotline

This fishing skiff, found on the Makah Reservation in mid-May, is the most recent confirmed item of Japanese tsunami debris to wash ashore on the Washington Coast.
Eyewitness photo Wash. Marine Debris Task Force

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 4:11 pm

Washington and other Pacific Coast states set up tsunami debris reporting hotlines in the wake of the 2011 disaster in Japan.

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Natural Gas Trucks
5:54 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Utilities Want To Offer Natural Gas Truck Refueling, Competitors Object

Clean Energy operates this CNG filling station near the airport in SeaTac, Wash.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 9:44 am

Trucking fleet operators in the Northwest are showing growing interest in filling up with natural gas instead of diesel.

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Northwest Timber
4:07 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Groups Aim To Boost Logging, Restoration In Olympic National Forest

File photo of Mount Townsend Trail in the Olympic National Forest
Miguel Vieira Flickr

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 4:04 pm

Timber industry and environmental groups will make a stab at collaboration to boost both logging and habitat restoration in the Olympic National Forest.

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Ferry Fuel
4:36 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Washington Ferry System Sets Course To Convert To Natural Gas

Schematic showing LNG fuel tank retrofit atop a Washington State ferry.
Washington State Ferries

Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 8:24 am

The nation's biggest ferry system is aiming to convert some of its fleet from diesel to natural gas propulsion.

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Employment Growth
5:06 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Washington Sees 'Soft Patch' In Hiring, Slow Overall Growth

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 3:25 pm

Washington state hit a 'soft patch' in hiring and is looking at slow overall growth. That news comes from two new data points on the Washington economy out Wednesday.

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Astronomy
6:01 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Drama Builds For Comet Flyby

Comet ISON passed through Virgo earlier this month.
Credit NASA/Aaron Kingery

If you wake up early and the skies are clear, you could be in for a treat this week. A comet named ISON should be visible through binoculars over the southeastern horizon. Astronomy websites have hyped the passage of this comet as the best in more than a decade. But a lot depends on a close encounter with the sun next week.

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Tsunami Debris
5:48 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Tsunami Debris Sightings Way Down, But May Spike Again

An Oregon beach cleanup earlier this month collected this possible tsunami debris.
Oregon Chapter of Surfrider Foundation

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 5:43 pm

Hotline calls and emails to report suspected Japanese tsunami debris have gone way down this year. But West Coast states are still keeping their guard up in case another wave of flotsam from the 2011 disaster washes up on our shores.

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