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.


Airline Alliance
4:11 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Alaska Airlines' Alliance With Delta Evolves Into 'Frenemies'

File photo of Alaska Airlines jets at SeaTac Airport.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 4:20 pm

You've probably heard this phrase before when discussing a messy relationship: "It's complicated." Those are the words the president of Alaska and Horizon airlines used Thursday to describe the state of the alliance between the Seattle-based carriers and Delta Air Lines.

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Furloughed Worker Payback
5:40 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Payback Time: States Want Refunds From Furloughed Federal Workers

Washington and Idaho want recently furloughed federal workers to repay unemployment benefits. But a quirk in Oregon law means affected workers in Oregon will get to keep whatever they received.
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Northwest News
9:35 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Light Pollution Fight Advances One City And Park At A Time

This file photo taken from Queen Anne Hill shows that urban sky glow is evident in the night sky over Seattle.
Hiimniko Flickr

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 12:12 pm

Even though we have had clear skies this week, chances are you can't see the Milky Way at night because the glare from city lights washes out all but the brightest stars where most people live.

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Inslee Climate Goals
4:44 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Inslee Wants To Explore State-Only 'Cap and Trade' Scheme

File photo of the TransAlta Centralia Coal Plant.
Miriam Duerr Washington Department of Ecology

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 4:36 pm

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has laid out his wish list for how he'd like the state to combat global warming pollution.

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Deep Sea Submarine
4:15 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Seattle Company Partners With UW To Build One-of-a-Kind Submarine

Rendering of manned deep sea sub in development in Seattle.
Credit OceanGate

A commercial submarine operator is teaming up with the University of Washington to build a new, manned deep sea sub. The five passenger mini-sub could be available for charter by oil companies or researchers beginning in 2016. 

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Tacoma Aquarium Shark Dive
5:42 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Aquarium In Tacoma To Let Visitors Dive In Shark Tank

Beginning Friday an aquarium in Tacoma will let paying visitors dive in a shark-infested tank.
Ingrid Barrentine/PDZA

Beginning Friday an aquarium in Tacoma will let paying visitors dive in a shark-infested tank. That's right. The Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium has built a dive cage in a tank that is home to 17 sharks. Experienced SCUBA divers can even swim out into the center of the pool.

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BPA Hiring Scandal
5:09 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Fixing Bonneville Power Hiring Mess A 'Monumental' Task

US Army Corps of Engineers

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 5:01 pm

A final inspector general's report released Tuesday condemns the Bonneville Power Administration for discriminating against veterans and other applicants during jobs hires.

Bonneville is this region's biggest wholesale electricity and transmission provider. 

BPA issued a contrite response to the scathing report from the U.S. Energy Department's inspector general.

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Government Shutdown
6:26 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Federal Shutdown Could Foul Up Waterfowl Season Opener

groxie Flickr

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 6:12 pm

  The partial government shutdown is highlighting all the different ways our lives intersect with the federal government. One category of affected people you might not think of is hunters.

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Government Shutdown
3:56 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Government Shutdown Sows Confusion Among Motorists And Workers

Robert Ashworth Wikimedia

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 3:15 pm

The National Park Service Thursday tried to sort out confusion among motorists about the extent of the partial government shutdown: State highways crossing federal land remain open to thru traffic.

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Government Shutdown
5:11 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Shutting National Parks No Fun For Rangers Or Visitors

Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 5:01 pm

The effects of the partial federal government shutdown are rippling across the Northwest.

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