Obama administration officials are increasingly using regulation and litigation to bypass Congress, say free market advocates and social conservatives.

“It is outrageous,” said Dan Kish, vice president at the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Energy Research and a former Capitol Hill staffer. “Like it or not, Congress has the power to write laws.”

But these critics also say little can be done about it before November 2012, especially because they’re getting no support from the liberal critics who once lambasted George W. Bush for ignoring domestic and international laws, and for releasing “signing statements” when he signed bills into law.

The administration is using bureaucratic procedures to constrict legal energy extraction the Democratic-led Congress failed to pass the “cap and trade” law to regulate carbon-dioxide, said Kish. Environmentalists “see this presidency as their one chance to reach their green-energy nirvana and insert themselves into every aspect of the economy,” he said. “For a bunch of lawyers, all they seem to do is figure out ways to get around the law,” Kish said.

Republicans and their allied advocacy groups say they’re frustrated by the administration’s use of regulations and the courts to bypass laws, and by liberals’ passivity, but don’t see any fix except a Republican in the White House.

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