The Nats and Astros need a change in Florida law to get their new spring training facility


The Nats and Astros are just about ready to go on their new spring training facility in Palm Beach County. There’s only one hitch: a pesky little law designed to keep drinking water safe:

Moving forward requires the Florida Legislature to shrink a protective zone along the M canal, which borders the southern end of the proposed stadium and community park. The canal delivers water from the Grassy Waters Preserve to the lakes that the city taps for its water supply.

Shrinking the buffer zone alongside the portion of the canal that touches the proposed stadium site would allow room for creating grass parking lots that could double as community soccer fields outside of baseball season.

The buffer zone is currently 450 feet. They need it reduced to 50 feet. The West Palm Beach city commission is urging the legislature to act because spring training facilities = money.

At least they’re honest about that. By the time this turns into an actual proposed law and people start arguing about it, I’m guessing people in support of the change will talk about how ridiculous it is to think the larger buffer zone is needed for clean water, even if no one thought it was all that ridiculous when the most important consideration regarding that land was its impact on clean water. Indeed, I’ll bet people who didn’t say boo when the zone was created will suddenly start talking about how crazy a 450ft buffer zone is and that 50 is all that was ever needed.

But hey, baseball for six weeks a year is more important than drinking water, right?