Tom Banse

Regional Correspondent

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.

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Washington DNR

The head of Cooke Aquaculture says he's furious about "scare tactics" that he says are driving a push to end Atlantic salmon farming in Puget Sound. The Washington Senate voted 35-12 Thursday to phase out aquatic leases for net pens holding non-native fish.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

With traffic congestion getting ever worse in the Seattle metro area, two classes of solo drivers are asking for permission to use the carpool lanes.

But it's a hard sell in Olympia.

Airbus A^3

The Airbus subsidiary behind a self-flying, battery-powered passenger drone says the prototype has made its first flight at Eastern Oregon Regional Airport in Pendleton.

Washington DNR

Over the weekend, Washington state tightened the screws—again—on an Atlantic salmon farming operation. The state Department of Natural Resources Saturday terminated the lease for Cooke Aquaculture's Cypress Island fish farm near Anacortes.

U.S. Ski & Snowboard -

Athletic talent runs in the family on the U.S. Olympic team headed to South Korea for the 2018 Winter Games. There are three sets of siblings on this year's Olympic cross-country skiing squad—two of which have Northwest roots.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Nowadays the vast fields of grain in eastern Washington and northeastern Oregon feed the world. But once upon a time—1825 to be exact—the first crop of wheat in the Northwest was planted at Fort Vancouver.

For the rest of the 19th century, many farmers grew wheat, oats, rye and barley west of Cascades. Now, foodies, farmers and others are collaborating to revitalize the historic grain production on the wet side.

Washington DNR

Geology experts with Washington's Department of Natural Resource have quit making predictions for when a slow-moving landslide might break loose. About 20 acres of the hillside are in motion near the community of Union Gap, Washington. 


A regulatory snafu in Washington state has industrial hemp farmers in limbo over planting a crop in 2018. Some of them are looking to shift acreage to Oregon.

Reese Brown / USSA -

The U.S. Olympic Committee officially announced the members of the 2018 Olympic Team Friday morning. Ten athletes from Oregon and Washington made the cut. Additionally, two snowboarders and two skiers raised in the Pacific Northwest will compete at the PyeongChang Games for other countries.

The 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea runs from February 8-25.

Western Washington University

The U.S. Olympic Committee officially announced the members of the 2018 Olympic Team Friday morning and the Pacific Northwest was well represented.

Ten athletes from Oregon and Washington state will travel with Team USA to the Winter Olympics in South Korea, including downhill skiers, cross country skiers, short track speed skaters, a snowboarder and one bobsledder. Additionally, two snowboarders raised in the Pacific Northwest will compete at the PyeongChang Games for other countries -- Australia and Russia.