Like beacons, the flares in Karnes County draw attention to one of the biggest and most profitable oil and gas finds in the world. Under the light belching from the towers, Mike Cerny takes a puff of medicine in what is now an empty inhaler.
Cerny and his wife say the inhalers and medicines the family takes now eclipse the royalties their property earns from fracking. “When you see your son with up to three nosebleeds a day, something’s wrong with this picture,” Myra Cerny said.
At first, she thought it was “time” that was taking its toll on their bodies.
“But it was coming on too fast, the symptoms," Cerny said. "And others the same age -- I have a twin sister -- aren’t sharing the same problems.”
But with every bit of gas and oil being extracted, the family noticed changes in their health. The flares are supposed to burn off unwanted gases, but the family noticed clouds of black smoke erupting with the flames.