VERNON, Vt. — The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, which is suing the state of Vermont in a bid to stay open past next year, is taking its case to newspaper readers.

In full page newspaper advertisements taken out Tuesday in nine Vermont newspapers, the CEO of plant owner Entergy Corp. says the company wishes it didn’t have to go to court but that it had no choice. J. Wayne Leonard’s signed letter says Vermont Yankee’s owners have a responsibility — to the plant’s employees, the company’s investors and electricity consumers — to stake its claim to operating past March 2012, when the state wants it shut down.

The suit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Burlington, says the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has jurisdiction over Vermont Yankee — not the state of Vermont — and that it has granted the plant a new license.

“We mean no disrespect by this action,” Leonard wrote. “We seek only a resolution of our disagreement with the state and we will abide by the results of the judicial process.”

Entergy contends that Vermont lawmakers overstepped their bounds when they passed a 2006 law giving the Legislature a say in whether the plant is allowed to operate past the scheduled March 2012 expiration of its state operating permit.

State officials say Entergy expressed support for the law when it was passed but that now that the state doesn’t want to renew the permit, it wants the law declared unconstitutional because the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has jurisdiction over nuclear plants.