The mining cutbacks are being made as the industry responds to a surplus of coal intended for power generation.
That surplus was driven in part by slack winter power demand caused by mild temperatures over the winter months.
Utilities are also switching to low-priced natural gas to make up a greater percentage of their overall power generation.
That, combined with what coal officials say is an uncertain regulatory environment caused by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is a driving force behind the recent job cuts.
"You tie all that together and you have a perfect storm on your hands," Raney said.
The EPA has been rolling out new regulations designed to eliminate toxic air pollutants and reduce carbon dioxide emissions in an effort to combat global warming.
Coal supporters have criticized the EPA's tactics as going too far and too fast.
But leaders like U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., insist the coal industry needs to get on board with the changes.
In a Senate floor speech Wednesday, Rockefeller called for industry officials to stop using "scare tactics" to stir up fear and opposition to the changes.
Raney said the new layoff announcement showed industry claims were not so farfetched.
"Here it is -- it's realistic, it's happening and it's happening to these individuals who are getting laid off, and that's the disappointing thing about this," he said.
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito said the layoffs are evidence that the EPA and President Barack Obama's administration need to roll back some of their proposals.
"What is it going to take for the administration and the EPA to back off?" Capito said. "The administration cannot simultaneously claim they're focused on creating jobs while pushing energy policies that are shuttering plants and destroying jobs. It just doesn't pass the smell test."
Writer Jared Hunt contributed to this report.