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" 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.  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.

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 beyond the reach of email.

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The Obama administration set carbon dioxide limits for electric power plants Monday. The objective is to combat climate change by clamping down on power plant pollution, especially coal-fired electricity.

A pair of World War II veterans from the Pacific Northwest and their escorts will return 70 inscribed Japanese flags Tuesday directly to the prime minister of Japan.

The U.S. Postal Service has nixed a privately-funded campaign to turn a small town post office in central Washington into a major artistic attraction.

An Anchorage-based commuter airline is opening a new hub in Portland. Peninsula Airways, better known as PenAir, is a well-established Alaska carrier that only recently branched out to the Lower 48.

The parent company of Alaska Airlines reported the highest quarterly profit in its history Thursday despite stiff competition in the Northwest skies.

Don Ryan / Associated Press

The biggest crowd to ever watch a National Women's Soccer League match filled a downtown Portland stadium Wednesday night. 21,144 fans saw the Seattle Reign defeat the home team Portland Thorns one to nil. The sold out Providence Park is another sign of how women’s professional soccer is getting a nice boost on the heels of the recent Women's World Cup in Canada. But for how long?

Washington, Idaho and Oregon have all placed in the top ten nationally for job growth over the past year.

Autumn Veatch / Instagram

A north central Washington hospital has discharged a Bellingham girl who emerged from the woods alive -- two days after a plane crash. Sixteen-year-old Autumn Veatch  spent the last day and a half at Three Rivers Hospital in Brewster. Doctor James Wallace treated the exhausted survivor.

In a newly released 911 recording, the teenage girl who walked away from a mountainside plane crash reported she was the only one to make it out alive.

A sixteen-year-old girl from Bellingham, Washington, walked out of the woods Monday afternoon -- two days after surviving a small plane crash in the North Cascades.

The Washington Legislature finally adjourned its 2015 session Friday. The last piece of business was for the state House to approve $508 million in new spending on roads, ferries and transit.

Amidst further downsizing confirmed by the U.S. Army Thursday, the Washington National Guard got good news. The Guard’s 81st Armored Brigade announced it will shed its heavy tanks and armor to convert into a more nimble Stryker configuration.

The window of opportunity to prevent grave ecological damage to our oceans from climate change is closing. That's according to a paper appearing Friday in the journal Science.

A few minutes past the last minute, the Washington Legislature renewed an expiring tax incentive to promote non-polluting plug-in cars.

Washington state's brand new operating budget was not even hours old Wednesday when it sprung a big hole.

A $2 billion hole.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Living witnesses to the forced relocation of West Coast Japanese-Americans during World War Two are growing fewer every year. Many who were incarcerated are in their 80s and 90s now. Their descendants -- and historians -- want to preserve the memory and lessons from the unjust internment. Some take an annual pilgrimage to the Minidoka internment camp in southern Idaho to find out more.

A U.S. national team stocked with players from Northwest pro soccer teams faces its toughest test to date at the FIFA Women's World Cup.

Would you let your smartphone share your location if it meant that one day you could come to a stranger's rescue?

Sales of expensive electric cars are getting a jolt from the impending expiration of a sales tax incentive in Washington state. It goes away June 30.

Golf's U.S. Open Championship tees off starting at 7 a.m. Thursday morning at Chambers Bay Golf Course near Tacoma, Washington.

Soccer fans from the American Northwest are expected to fill sold-out BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, Canada, Tuesday evening as the U.S. Women's National Team takes on Nigeria.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

A half-dozen players with ties to the Northwest are entered in golf’s U.S. Open as the event tees off in the Pacific Northwest for the very first time this week. The highest ranked among them doubts the locals will benefit from home field advantage.

Some of the favorites to win this year’s U.S. Open are saying nice things about the golf course after practice rounds at Chambers Bay near Tacoma, Washington.

A steak-knife fight on the high seas has captivated Northwest yachting fans for the past day.

Many of the world's best golfers will descend on a public course near Tacoma, Washington, this coming week for the 2015 U.S. Open.

All signs are pointing to a strong El Niño developing by this fall according to an update from the National Weather Service Thursday.

Tome Banse / Northwest News Network

The first stage of the inaugural 750-mile Race to Alaska -- a novel endurance race up the Inside Passage -- has thinned the field.

They say there's nothing more boring than watching grass grow. But cultivating immaculate grass is a serious, intense and fascinating business when you work at the golf course that will stage the first U.S. Open championship in the Northwest.

Tom Banse

 A large crowd of onlookers gathered at dawn Thursday morning in Port Townsend to send off the captains and crews entered in a new adventure race. The nautical contest runs 750 miles up the Inside Passage to Ketchikan, Alaska.

The corruption investigations swirling around soccer's world governing body could cast a shadow over the FIFA Women's World Cup. It kicks off Saturday in Canada.

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