This front piece was written by Steve Malone. His point is that the early warning systems are useless if there is no follow-through, and worse than useless if they are used as a phony excuse to engage in bad practice.
For earthquakes, these early warning systems are sucking up pork money, directly from the politicians. After all, the concept is extremely sexy: We don't have to do anything else, if we get 5 seconds warning! Tons of money is going into this.
He points out the general uselessness of other early warning systems. For example, Hurricane Katrina had the very best early warning system, days ahead, and timing to the minute. What good was it?
Volcanoes also have good early warning systems, but still a lot of nut-cases were caught by Mt. St. Helens, and he points out that now they want to build subdivisions on known volcanic lahar-freeways for Mt. Rainier, simply because they'll get early warning of a giant steaming mudslide bearing down on them at the speed of an express train!