Tom Banse

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. 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 beyond the reach of email.

Pages

Earthquake Preparation
7:40 am
Mon July 28, 2014

USGS Tries Listening To Human Racket To Understand Seismic Hazards

A seismic "thumper" used to map earthquake faults.
Horemu Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 5:22 pm

Research geologists have just finished a field trial to test a less invasive way to complete seismic hazard surveys.

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Airline Rivalry
7:27 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Alaska Air Says It's Holding Its Own Against Delta Onslaught

An Alaska Airlines 737 plane.
Alaska Airlines

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 5:25 pm

The intensifying competition between Alaska Airlines and rival Delta Air Lines in the Western skies does not seem to be hurting the bottom line of either company.

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Radiation
8:53 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Donors Pay To Test Seawater For Traces Of Fukushima Radiation

Fukushima seawater radiation plume dispersal model by Rossi et. al.
Deep-Sea Research journal

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 4:47 pm

It's been more than three years since the Fukushima nuclear plant accident resulted in a spill of millions of gallons of radioactive cooling water into the Pacific. Oceanographers projected that it could take until this year for highly diluted traces of that spill in Japan to reach the West Coast of North America.

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Wildfires
6:50 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Washington Governor Asks For Cooperation With Fire Evacuation Requests

Smoke billows over US Highway 97 near Pateros, Washington, on Friday.

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 5:53 pm

More than a dozen wildfires in eastern Washington and eastern Oregon continue to threaten homes and cause numerous road closures. Washington Governor Jay Inslee Friday asked residents near those fires to heed evacuation notices when issued.

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Climate Change
7:41 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Endangered Species Listing For Wolverine Looking Doubtful

File photo of a wolverine

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 12:22 pm

A federal threatened species listing for the wolverine is looking increasingly unlikely.

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Population Control
9:16 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Feds To Remove Fewer Wild Horses From Western Rangelands This Year

File photo of the August 2010 Wild Horse Gather by the Bureau of Land Management at the Stinkingwater Herd Management Area near Burns, Oregon.

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 8:44 am

The federal Bureau of Land Management plans to capture and remove fewer wild horses from Western rangelands this summer. An agency statement blames budget constraints and already-full holding pens.

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Soccer
7:46 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Want More World Cup? 2015 Women's Final In Vancouver, BC

File photo of BC Place in Vancouver, Canada

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 3:20 pm

Organizers of the next FIFA Women's World Cup hope to leverage the unusually high interest in this year's men's tournament in Brazil to their benefit. Group play and the 2015 World Cup final will take place just across the border in Vancouver, Canada.

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Logging Life
6:43 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Coastal County Tries Tax Gambit To Stop Recreation Fees

File photo showing vandalism on Weyerhaeuser's St. Helens Tree Farm.

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 6:48 pm

Grays Harbor County, Washington, is the first county in the Northwest to strike back against pricey recreation permits now being required by some large timber companies. The county's commission voted unanimously Monday to take a tax deferral away from private timberland owners that charge for public access.

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Highway Standoff
7:42 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Feds Warn States Of Possible Highway Cash Holdback

File photo of construction along I-90 near Roslyn, Washington, in summer 2012.

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 6:54 pm

The Idaho Transportation Department has suspended advertising for bids for future highway projects. Oregon and Washington may soon do the same.

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NPR Story
7:59 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Proposed Tribal Recognition Changes Hold Promise, Pitfalls

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 4:55 pm

The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs wants to rewrite the rules for when a native tribe is officially a tribe in the eyes of the federal government. This again raises hopes for status and federal benefits among some unrecognized tribes in the West, but they still face a bumpy road.

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NPR Story
7:53 am
Tue July 1, 2014

State Task Force Starts Work On New Drone Regulations In Washington

File photo of a drone hovering over a park in Wilsonville, Oregon.

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 3:44 pm

Imagine looking out your window to see a drone hovering outside. That happened in June to a partially-dressed Seattle woman who was startled and outraged.

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Seattle
7:58 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Western Cities Top Rankings Of Auto Theft Hot Spots

The top auto theft hot spots in the United States and the Northwest
Graphic by Kevin Mooney/Rankings from NICB

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 5:34 pm

In what Northwest city is your car most likely to be stolen? According to a new insurance industry report, the answer is Spokane, Washington.

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Recess Appointments
7:49 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Yakima Labor Dispute Led To Presidential Powers Ruling

File photo of the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 7:29 pm

A noteworthy decision by the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday about presidential powers stemmed from a labor dispute in Yakima, Washington. The court's ruling narrowed the president's power to make recess appointments when the Senate is not in session.

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Rights Of Travelers
7:09 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Federal Judge In Portland Orders Changes To No-Fly List

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 9:17 pm

A federal judge in Portland Tuesday ordered the U.S. Justice Department and FBI to come up with new rules for the government's no-fly list. The court found travelers labeled as potential terrorists had been deprived of their constitutional rights to due process.

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Labor
7:40 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Washington State Jobless Rate Holds Steady In May

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 2:51 pm

The unemployment rate in Washington state is holding steady at 6.1 percent according to the latest numbers out Wednesday from the state Employment Security Department.

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