Tom Banse

Tom Banse covers national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from 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 found online and heard on-air 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.

Construction begins soon in eastern Oregon for the first commercial-scale "torrefaction" facility in the country. If you don't know what that word means, you're in good company. 

But the process itself isn't all that exotic. 

You're forgiven if you missed the fact that Congress failed to renew the federal Farm Bill before the September 30 deadline. But people in farm country around the Pacific Northwest noticed.

A Western Washington chapter of the Boy Scouts is preparing to welcome girls to scouting with a "boot camp" just for teenage girls this coming weekend.

The idea behind the two-night campout is to familiarize girls with scouting skills and prepare them for leadership. As of next year, the Boy Scouts will establish separate all-female and all-male troops.

The eye-catching scenes of mountain goats flying through the air under helicopters, riding in refrigerated trucks and taking ferries to new homes are done for the year. Roundups and relocations of non-native Olympic National Park goats will resume next year.

Retaliatory tariffs levied by China on U.S. goods are taking a toll on Pacific Northwest farm exports. Details about cancelled orders came out Wednesday at a state Senate committee hearing in Seattle.

Deer have already begun using an unfinished wildlife bridge over Interstate 90 east of Snoqualmie Pass. The Washington State Department of Transportation on Monday celebrated the opening of a section of widened freeway there. The new overcrossing is expected to reduce frightening animal-vehicle collisions.

Hackers are using various forms of digital skullduggery to steal frequent flyer miles from customers of Delta, Alaska and other airlines. The thieves then resell the miles on the dark web.

In the last few years, rock-bottom electricity rates have attracted bitcoin miners and other virtual currency entrepreneurs to central Washington state. But in Chelan and Grant counties, that lure may be on the wane because of looming power price hikes.


The Chinese government announced on Tuesday that it would impose tariffs on $60 billion more of U.S. exports. This widens the range of Pacific Northwest companies caught in the trade crossfire.

Wildlife biologists have relocated the first two dozen of hundreds of non-native mountain goats slated for removal from Olympic National Park. The logistically-challenging capture and transfer of the woolly wild animals to the northern Cascade Range has been periodically slowed by weather this week.

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