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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Potential Government Shutdown
5:41 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Partial Government Shutdown Fouls Up Park Visits

Jimmy Emerson Flickr

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 5:38 pm

Closed national parks will be one of the first visible effects of the partial government shutdown expected to begin Tuesday. National forest and BLM campgrounds will also close.

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Potential Government Shutdown
5:23 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

States Scramble To Assess Effect Of Federal Shutdown On Joint Programs

Bill Koplitz FEMA

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 4:54 pm

The likelihood of a partial federal government shutdown has state budget gurus scrambling to figure out whether programs the states run with federal funding can continue.

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Dog Salmon Poisoning
4:48 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Bumper Salmon Runs Don't Mix With Dogs

Colby Otero Wikimedia

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 4:46 pm

Fishermen around the Northwest are enjoying some exceptional salmon runs this autumn. Puget Sound is teeming with pink salmon and there's a record-breaking fall Chinook run in the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

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NW Oil Spill Response
6:14 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Inland NW Needs More Spill Response Capacity For Oil Trains

Environmental regulators heard from BNSF Railway that mile-long crude oil trains from North Dakota could cross the Northwest around five times a day in coming years.
Credit Russ Allison Loar

The rapid rise in crude oil shipping by rail means Northwest states need to bulk up their oil spill response capacity. That's according to members of a task force of Pacific states and British Columbia which met in Seattle Wednesday.

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Oil Train Regulation
4:51 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

BNSF Defends Safety Of Oil Trains To West Coast Regulators

David Gubler Wikimedia

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 5:35 pm

The biggest railroad in the Northwest forcefully defended the safety of oil trains Wednesday.

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Tele-Health
6:34 am
Tue September 24, 2013

Virtual Urgent Care: The Doctor Will Skype You Now

Diana Rae of Tenino, WA demos "virtual urgent care" with Dr. Ben Green in Seattle, who sees her via Skype.
Credit Franciscan Health System

Telemedicine has been around for a long time to connect rural health care providers to specialists in the big city. This month, Tacoma-based Franciscan Health System took telemedicine to a broader realm. It became one of the first hospital networks in the country to offer "virtual" urgent care. A video chat could replace a hectic trip to a medical clinic for a patient who prefers this convenience.

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Columbia River Treaty
4:51 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Regional Players Divided On How To Renegotiate Columbia River Treaty

Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 4:48 pm

Two federal agencies are recommending that a 50-year-old treaty between the U.S. and Canada be renegotiated to give Northwest electricity ratepayers and salmon a better deal.

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Lahars Warning
6:22 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Colombians Urge Pacific Northwesterners To Appreciate Lahar Danger

Armero, Colombia was destroyed by a lahar on November 13, 1985. More than 23,000 people were killed when lahars (volcanic debris flows) swept down from the erupting Nevado del Ruiz volcano.
Credit R.J. Janda

Visiting scientists from the country of Colombia have a warning for people living in the valleys below our Northwest volcanoes. Get educated about a rare but dangerous phenomenon called a "lahar."

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Washington Economic Recovery
4:51 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Wash. State Jobless Rate Hews Closest To National Trend During Recovery

Washington State Employment Security Dept.

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 4:38 pm

According to fresh numbers out Wednesday from the state employment department, the unemployment rate in Washington state edged up slightly in August to an even 7 percent as hiring slowed.

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Immigrant Investor Visa
6:39 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Immigrant Investor Visa Proves Popular With State Legislators, But Outside Their Control

American Life, Inc. President Greg Steinhauer testifies to the Washington State Legislative Committee on Economic Development & International Relations.
Credit Tom Banse

Legislators in Washington State are showing enthusiasm for a federal immigration program that gives green cards to wealthy foreign investors. But state officials discovered during a workshop on Friday that the options for expanding foreign investment in this way are largely outside their control.

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