The process of making a determination on whether the state will deem high-volume hydrofracking safe will remain behind the scenes, Department of Health Commission Nirav Shah said at a cabinet meeting on Monday, insisting the science behind the study will be done in a “sacred place.”

“The process needs to be transparent at the end, not during,” Shah said during a series of questions from Gannett’s Jon Campbell.

Shah said the details of the safety study will be revealed “when I’m done.”

The state Department of Health began reviewing the controversial natural gas extraction method in September 2012, but no determination on hydrofracking’s safety has been made, and the review has largely remained out of the public view.

Shah reiterated on Monday the science will guide the decision, adding that he’s received new information from other states in November.

“For the last few months, I’ve said that as the science evolves, we will reflect the science in my recommendations,” Shah said. “As recently as a month ago, we got new data from Texas and Wyoming and until I’m comfortable with the state of the science, I’m withholding my recommendation.”

The state has missed several self-imposed regulatory deadlines to make a determination on hydrofracking, either through creating a regulatory process for permitting or an environmental impact statement.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has been criticized by the natural gas industry for the lack of speed on making a decision, backed Shah’s continued research at the cabinet meeting.

He also said it was “apples and oranges” to compare the state’s relative speed on, say, the construction of the replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge versus the decision on hydrofracking.

“I want the right decision, not necessarily the fastest decision,” Cuomo said. “When it’s appropriate to move fast, we can move fast. I think we’ve shown that over and over again.”

The issue of sunlight on the hydrofracking process is one of the few areas of agreement between the natural gas lobby and the environmental advocates who oppose the method.