Hundreds of people are expected to attend rallies Saturday across southeast Missouri to support the Noranda/steel mill issue.

Governor Eric Greitens speaks to Missourinet in Jefferson City on May 19, 2017 about the special session (Brian Hauswirth photo}

Supporters say State Rep. Don Rone’s (R-Portageville) bill would help restore about 400 jobs at the former Noranda site, and would create 200 jobs at a new Bootheel steel mill.

Governor Eric Greitens (R) has called a special session on the issue. It begins Monday afternoon at 4:00 at the Statehouse in Jefferson City.

Greitens will be in Missouri’s Bootheel region Saturday and Sunday.

“We’re going to be letting people know about the tremendous opportunity that we have to bring this steel mill and hundreds of jobs to southeast Missouri and we’re going to be asking people to stand with us and let their voices be heard,” Greitens told Missourinet Friday morning.

click here to listen to the full 16-minute Missourinet interview with Governor Eric Greitens recorded on May 19, 2017. Greitens spoke to Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and Alisa Nelson:

Gov. Greitens will lead rallies Saturday in four southeast Missouri communities.

“On Saturday we’re going to be at Noranda at 10 am,” Greitens says. “We’re going to be in Poplar Bluff at the Black River Coliseum at 12:30 (p.m.) on Saturday. We’re going to be at the Dexter Fire Department at 2:30.”

Greitens says they’ll also rally Saturday afternoon at 4:30 at Three Rivers Community College in Sikeston, adding that he’ll be attending church services Sunday morning in the Bootheel.

Greitens tells Missourinet nine of the ten poorest counties in the state are in southeast Missouri. He says the jobs will be “good quality, high-paying” ones.

Missourinet reported Thursday night that a state senator from southeast Missouri says he’s always supported special electric rates to help reopen the former Noranda smelter.

State Sen. Doug Libla (R-Poplar Bluff) also says he supports a special electric rate for a new steel mill in New Madrid.

Libla’s Thursday statement says he worries about unnecessary rate increases for businesses and families. Libla emphasizes that if Rone’s amendment last week had not included what he calls a “sweeping deterioration” of Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) scrutiny and only Noranda smelter language, he would have supported it.

Libla also says Missouri manufacturers are allowed to request a lower electric rate by directly petitioning the PSC, without pursuing legislation.

State Sen. Rob Schaaf (R-St. Joseph) says if the bill contains language “that guts the PSC”, he will filibuster the measure.

Greitens disagrees with their concerns, calling them “career politicians” standing in the way of jobs. Greitens says his job is to get results for Missourians.

The governor says the issue is straightforward. He says the bill simply allows the PSC to set an affordable rate so a steel mill can come to southeast Missouri.

Greitens notes the Missouri House approved the Rone amendment last week on a bipartisan 148-2 vote.

Greitens is optimistic the Rone bill will pass during the special session, but says there is a time pressure; if the bill doesn’t pass, he says Missouri will lose the jobs.

Greitens is inviting southeast Missouri residents to travel to the Capitol next week during the special session.